Anthony Smith has received the call again.
For the second time this year, the UFC light heavyweight contender has been tagged on short notice to be in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card. On Friday, the UFC lost its headliner for Saturday’s event, a heavyweight fight between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis, and Smith will now headline a light heavyweight showdown against Devin Clark that was originally scheduled as the co-main event. of the billboard.
This will be the second time in a row that Smith has been moved to the headliner position. Yair Rodríguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov were supposed to compete in the main event of the promotion’s August 29 card, but Rodríguez withdrew due to injury. Smith and Aleksandar Rakic stepped into the spotlight role for a three-round fight.
That will be the case once again with Smith v. Clark, although this time it will be a five-round fight and Smith surely hopes the results will be different. He lost that Rakic fight by unanimous decision. Smith has now lost two in a row, including a fifth-round TKO loss to Glover Teixeira in May. This will be Smith’s seventh consecutive place in the UFC main event, breaking the tie he had with “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, for the biggest fights for a fighter who has never won a UFC title.
For Smith (33-16), this is an opportunity to get back on track in a division that no longer features Jon Jones, the man who beat Smith at UFC 235 in March 2019 in a title fight, in the top. But Smith first has to prove that he still belongs in the top echelon at 205 pounds.
Clark (12-4), meanwhile, is looking for the biggest opportunity of his career. He has won two in a row and now has a chance to extend that to three against Smith, a perennial contender, in a main event slot. Clark, a former LFA light heavyweight champion, is well prepared for this. He’s a longtime training partner with Jones and surely JacksonWink MMA coaches have taught him Smith’s tendencies.
By the numbers
2: Smith has been elevated to the main event twice this year after the postponement or cancellation of the previously scheduled main event. The first happened in August when Magomedsharipov vs. Rodriguez was canceled due to Rodriguez’s injury. Unlike in August, this fight will be a five-round main event.
6: Clark, who joined the light heavyweight division in 2016, has six wins since that time, which is tied for fourth in the division.
4: The number of light heavyweight finishes for Smith since 2018.
33.3%: Clark’s completion rate, with four finishes in 12 wins (three by knockout, one by submission)
93.9%: Smith’s completion rate, with 31 finishes in 33 wins (19 by knockout, 12 by submission)
Sources: ESPN statistics and information and UFC statistics
Five against five
Most Recent Anthony Smith Results
Loss: Aleksandar Rakic (UD, Aug 29, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Loss: Glover Teixeira (KO5, May 13, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Victory: Alexander Gustafsson (U4, June 1, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Loss: Jon Jones (UD, March 2, 2019)
Win: Volkan Oezdemir (U3, October 27, 2018)
Devin Clark’s most recent results
Win: Alonzo Menifield (UD, June 6, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Win: Dequan Townsend (UD, Feb 15, 2020; watch on ESPN +)
Loss: Ryan Spann (U2, October 12, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Win: Darko Stosic (UD, June 1, 2019; watch on ESPN +)
Loss: Aleksandar Rakic (KO1, December 8, 2018)
And the winner is …
This main event offers a huge opportunity for both men, who seem to be going in different directions in the light heavyweight division. Smith has lost two games in a row and desperately needs to break his drift. Clark has won two in a row and faces a tough challenge at Smith. Clark is a very good fighter who was able to control the explosive Alonzo Menifield in his last match. Smith, on the other hand, wrestled with the Glover Teixeira match earlier this year. That said, the experience Smith has in tough fights cannot be overstated. Clark had never been in this kind of position before. Smith is versatile, cerebral, and tough. He is an expert in coming back from adversity, and that is what he will do here. Smith by TKO in the third round.
How to watch the fights
See the Main Card on ESPN: Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | Television schedule. Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access.
Watch the fights on ESPN +. If you don’t have ESPN +, get it here.
There is also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
ESPN / ESPN +, 10 pm ET
Anthony Smith vs. Devin Clark | Light heavyweight
Miguel Baeza vs. Takashi Sato | Welterweight
Josh Parisian vs. Parker Porter | Heavyweight
Spike Carlyle vs. Bill Algeo | Men’s featherweight
Ashley Evans-Smith vs. Norma Dumont Viana | Female bantamweight
Jonathan Pearce vs. Kai Kamaka III | Men’s featherweight
ESPN +, 8 pm ET
Martin Day vs. Anderson dos Santos | Men’s bantamweight
Gina Mazany vs. Rachael Ostovich | Women’s flyweight
His Mudaerji vs. Malcolm Gordon | Men’s flyweight
Luke Sanders vs. Nate Maness | Men’s bantamweight
Three More Things You Should Know (From ESPN Stats & Info)
1. Josh Parisian makes his long-awaited heavyweight debut on the main card against Parker Porter, three years after appearing on Dana White’s Contender Series. Parisian won his fight in Week 3 of Season 1, but instead of landing a contract with the UFC, he was offered a spot on Season 28 of the reality show “The Ultimate Fighter.” Parisian lost his first fight at TUF, but returned this year for DWCS Season 4, where he won and ultimately got his contract.
2. The only undefeated fighter on the undercard is 9-0 welterweight Miguel Baeza, who faces Takashi Sato on the main undercard. With a knockout victory, Baeza would become the first 170-pound fighter to win his first three UFC fights by knockout.
3. Norma Dumont lost weight in her fight against Ashlee Evans-Smith, coming in at 139.5 pounds.