On Saturday night, former title challenger Anthony Smith returns to the Octagon to take on Ryan Spann in the light heavyweight main event of UFC Fight Night. The fight is a big one for both men, with Spann trying to battle his way up the rankings and Smith trying to run his winning streak to three and move closer to a second shot at the championship.
Smith had a rough start to 2020, dropping fights to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic and looking as though his time as an elite fighter in the 205-pound division had come to an end. Instead, Smith closed the year with a first-round triangle choke submission of Devin Clark and opened his 2021 campaign with a first-round TKO win against Jimmy Crute. Smith said he's rooting for Teixeira to pick up the win in the next 205-pound title fight against Jan Blachowicz.
"I really like Jan. Huge fan of him and how he carries himself. I think he's a fantastic champion, fantastic competitor. I hear nothing but good things about who he is as a person. I'd love to drink beer with him sometime. But goddamnit, I just need Glover Teixeira to win," Smith said in an interview with Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour". "And not because he beat me [in May 2020] and it makes me look better. I just think that man just deserves it, you know?
"Like, if Glover Teixeira can sail off into the sunset someday, at least for that moment in time wearing a 12-pound gold belt around his waist, I just think that would put a lot of good into the world. That gives a lot of people like me hope and it motivates a lot of older guys, and it's just a feel-good story. So I hope Glover [wins]."
In Spann's most recent fight, he scored a TKO win over Misha Cirkunov. That win was a big rebound for Spann after suffering the first loss of his UFC career at the hands of Johnny Walker. Spann is now 9-1 in his 10 most recent fights, including a 5-1 record in the UFC.
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There's some more fun fights to be found just below the main event on Saturday night. Another pair of light heavyweights meet in the co-main event when Ion Cutelaba takes on Devin Clark. Plus, Ariane Lipski looks to end a short losing skid when she takes on UFC newcomer Mandy Bohm in a women's flyweight contest. And the man known for his viral knockout, Joaquin Buckley, looks to get back in the win column when he takes on Antonio Arroyo in the main card opener at middleweight.
Here's the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night card, odds
Anthony Smith -150
Ryan Spann +130
Ion Cutelaba -160
Devin Clark +135
Ariane Lipski -125
Mandy Bohm +105
|Arman Tsarukyan -800||Christos Giagos +525||Lightweight|
|Tony Gravely -210||Nate Maness +175||Bantamweight|
|Joaquin Buckley -190||Antonio Arroyo +160||Middleweight|
UFC Fight Night viewing information
Date: Sept. 18 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: UFC Apex -- Las Vegas
Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann: This is a very interesting pairing of two men with solid, well-rounded offensive attacks. Both men have the possibility of stopping the fight with strikes or submissions. Smith has proven himself against a far higher level of competition and Spann's lone UFC loss came in his biggest step up in level of competition. That could be a red flag against someone who has been a top player at 205 for years. The fight may come down to which version of Smith shows up to the Octagon. Spann's best chance is if it's the largely passive Smith who was dominated by Teixeira and Rakic. A Spann win wouldn't shock but Smith is probably the safer bet to edge out the fight. Pick: Anthony Smith via UD
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