Hughes closed the distance quickly in round two, and the bout returned to the mat. Newton scrambled his way free and got back to his feet, Hughes stayed close though and put the challenger on his back again. From here, it was just a case of Hughes dominating on the mat and Newton trying in vain to escape. At the end of the round, Hughes began unleashing a ferocious series of elbows, cutting his foe in the process.
Newton had a brief window of opportunity when the third opened as Hughes missed a high kick, but seconds later, he was taken down. Newton gamely looked to turn things around with a submission, but the champion’s offense and defense were on point. With under two minutes left, Hughes got the mount position and fired away with strikes, but there was no stoppage. Hughes even showed off some more aspects of his game as he went for an armbar, but Newton escaped and took Hughes’ back. Time ran out on “The Ronin,” though, killing his best comeback attempt.
Keeping it simple, Hughes took Newton down to start the fourth, and he patiently punished the challenger. With less than two minutes remaining, Newton got trapped, and after a series of unanswered blows, referee John McCarthy halted the bout at the 3:37 mark.
In the co-feature, unbeaten young gun Frank Mir got a rude welcome to England by local hero Ian Freeman, who scored an emotional first round TKO win in a stunning upset.
The 23-year-old Mir, a submission specialist, traded with Freeman early, but then wisely went to the mat to look for the tap out. Freeman weathered the grappling attacks though and began teeing off on his foe at close range when they stood. After the assault of knees, Mir got another takedown, this time looking to lock up the Brit’s ankle. But the 35-year-old veteran pounded his way loose. With the crowd roaring, Freeman continued to score, and with under a minute left, Mir lost his mouthpiece. McCarthy halted the bout to put the mouthpiece back in, but Mir could barely stand, forcing the stoppage with 25 seconds left in the round.