Newton had a brief window of opportunity when the third opened up as Hughes missed a high kick, but seconds later he was taken down. Newton bravely looked to turn things around with a submission, but the champion’s offense and defense were on point. With less than two minutes to go, Hughes secured the mount position and fired in with strikes, but there was no save. Hughes even showed other aspects of his game as he reached for an armbar, but Newton escaped and picked up Hughes. Time ran out on “The Ronin,” however, killing his best comeback attempt.
Keeping it simple, Hughes knocked Newton down to start the fourth, and he patiently punished the challenger. With less than two minutes left, Newton found himself trapped and, after a series of unanswered punches, referee John McCarthy called a halt to the fight at 3:37.
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In the co-feature, unbeaten youngster Frank Mir was given a bad reception in England by local hero Ian Freeman, who picked up an emotional first-round TKO victory in a stunning upset.
Mir, 23, a submission specialist, traded with Freeman early but then wisely walked to the mat to look for the tap out. Freeman resisted the grappling attacks, however, and began to strike his foe at close range as they stood up. After the knee onslaught, Mir suffered another takedown, this time looking to lock down the Briton’s ankle. But the 35-year-old veteran fought his way through. With the crowd roaring, Freeman continued to score, and with less than a minute to play, Mir lost his mouthpiece. McCarthy broke up the fight to put the mouthpiece back on, but Mir could barely stand, forcing the stoppage with 25 seconds left in the round.