Middleweight prospect Eryk Anders was the most heavily favored fighter on the UFC Lincoln card, yet he spent the majority of his match getting outworked by Tim Williams. Anders looked lackadaisical as he telegraphed all his setups, and he failed to truly land that meaty left hand. He’d done enough to probably get a win by decision as the fight wound down, but instead of letting the judges pick the winner, the former Alabama linebacker ended the fight in emphatic fashion.
While Anders’s soccer kick was brutal as hell, it was a legal strike. Under the unified rules of MMA, which were adopted in 2017, an opponent is classified as “grounded” if they have any body part other than their feet and one hand on the mat. That means a fighter is not allowed to throw knees or feet at an opponent’s head if they have two hands on the canvas, which has caused a great deal of controversy over the past two years. If Anders had made contact with Williams’s head just a moment earlier when Williams had his hand down, then his kick would have been illegal under the old rules.
Anders said after the fight that he “set a trap” for Williams by letting him off his back for free a few times earlier in the fight. Williams didn’t expect to get soccer kicked—it’s an exceedingly rare move because it’s so hard to pull it off legally—but he left his head there for the taking. This knockout didn’t have the ramifications of Justin Gaethje’s leveling of James Vick in the main event, but it was the wildest KO of the evening.