Hungry for more after an explosive return to the octagon at UFC 249? Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira square off in this week’s UFC Fight Night headliner – and there’s big value in ‘Lionheart’ bringing it to an early conclusion.
Despite the empty stands, mixed martial arts returned with a bang courtesy of an eventful UFC 249 card in Florida on the weekend.
Dana White is not wasting any time capitalising on the success of the promotion’s return – Jacksonville Arena hosts UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Teixeira just four days later.
The main event sees Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith lock horns with light heavyweight division stalwart Glover Teixeira on Thursday (AEST).
Who ya got?
— UFC (@ufc) May 11, 2020
Smith boasts a 33-14 MMA record, including 17 knockout wins. He joined the UFC in 2016 and has chalked up four Performance of the Night bonuses from his last nine bouts.
The 31-year-old Texan had the highest profile fight of his career last March, going down to UFC legend and Light Heavyweight champ Jon ‘Bones’ Jones by unanimous decision. In his only assignment since, Smith beat highly regarded Alexander Gustafsson by fourth-round submission in June.
Prior to the Jones bout, five of Smith’s previous six wins came via KO/TKO. He brutally stopped Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua in first-round knockouts in the space of six weeks in 2018. Twelve of his 17 career knockout victories came in Round 1.
Teixeira has a 30-7 record (17 wins by knockout). He came away with three UFC Fight Night victories in 2019: by submission against Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba, and a split decision result against Nikita Krylov.
But at 40 years of age, the Brazilian is very much past his prime. Prior to last year’s run, Teixeira lost three of his previous five fights. Two were knockout losses, including against Anthony Johnson at UFC 202 after just 13 seconds.
Teixeira, the $2.50 underdog, is a submission specialist – but Smith has not lost by submission since 2013.
UFC punters have backed Smith into just $2.10 to win by KO/TKO in the Method of Victory market.
Smith is the third-ranked contender to Jones in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division, behind Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos. Teixeira sits eighth.
‘Lionheart’ is eyeing of a rematch with Jones. He knows a quick, authoritative win over Teixeira will boost his chances of another title shot.