Only four days have passed since the UFC was in action last Saturday at UFC 249. Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira wasn’t scheduled to take place on this night prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they decided to insert this fight card before this upcoming Saturday’s Fight Night, Alistair Overem vs Walt Harris. Although this fight card wasn’t star studded, the event did not lack entertainment value.
The main card had some polarizing fights that started with Bantamweight studs, Ricky Simon and Ray Borg. Simon is a highly touted prospect, but entered this fight on a two-fight losing streak which are his only two losses in the UFC. Borg on the other hand, came into this fight on a streak of the exact opposite of his opponents’. This was Borg’s return to Bantamweight. This was a very close fight that had a strong mix of high class striking and elite level wrestling. In a true back and forth fight, Ricky Simon had a slight edge on the score card, breaking his two-fight losing streak by way of split decision.
Lightweight up-and-comer, Drew Dober, came into tonights bout, against #15 Alexander Hernandez (3-1 UFC), winning 5 out of his last 6 fights. This is Dober’s first fight against a ranked opponent, as he is looking to crack the top 15 himself. The fight opened up looking pretty good for Hernandez as he mixed up his striking along with his takedowns to take the first round on the scorecard. Dober adjusted in round two by putting pressure on Hernandez and throwing more powerful strikes that ended up dropping him a couple of times. Dober landed a flurry of punches that rocked Hernandez enough for referee Herb Dean to put a stop to the contest. Drew Dober ends up beating his first ranked opponent and then calls out #6 Paul Felder, who was in attendance commentating the fight.
Heavyweight Ben Rothwell participated in his fourth fight back from a 3 year layoff from fighting, in which he went 1-2 since his return. Rothwell stated in an interview that he has been through some rough times in recent months and this training camp was exceptionally hard for him. A former Light Heavyweight Championship contender, Ovince St. Preux, made his Heavyweight debut tonight against Rothwell. St. Preux has not been seeing much success lately at the Light Heavyweight division, so he moved up a weight class to get a fresh start. Sadly for Ovince, Rothwell didn’t plan on letting those plans come to light. As in many heavyweight fights, action was limited, but the bursts that were thrown out by each fighter had knockout power and intentions. Rothwell was hunting down St. Pruex for most of the fight as he cut off his steps and pressured forward. Ovince may have been backing up, but landed many solid shots off his back foot. In a close back and forth heavyweight duel, Ben Rothwell’s advancing wins him his second straight fight, via split-decision.
The main event of the evening included tattered UFC veteran and #8 ranked Light-heavyweight, Glover Teixeira, taking on former Light-heavyweight title contender, #4 Anthony “Lionheart” Smith. Lionheart is 4-1 in his last five fights, with his only loss coming to champion Jon Jones. Glover comes into this fight riding a 3 fight win streak and is looking to climb up the rankings once again.
At the start of round 1, both fighters come out cautious, looking to get a feel for one another. For the first round and a half, Smith was sticking Teixeira with an array of strikes, mainly keeping his range with jabs and body blows. In the middle of the second round, Teixeira punches Smith in the eye in which he thinks it was an eye poke, which it turned out not to be. That was the turning point in this fight. Teixeira began to absolutely beat down Anthony Smith in a brutal fashion. For the rest of the fight, Glover kept battering Smith on the feet and then smash him when the fight went to the ground. It was an ugly fight to watch because of how one-sided it was. Anthony Smith showed how lion-hearted he really was, as he didn’t give up and sustained a brutal beatdown until the ref called the fight off in the 5th round. Glover Teixeira pulverized Anthony Smith and recieved a victory via 5th round TKO.
This was a crushing defeat for Lionheart, as he went from fighting for a title, to losing to a lower ranked 40 year old veteran. Smith was likely one more win away from a title shot if he were to have beat Teixeira. On the other hand, this is one of the best wins in recent years for Teixeira, as he hasn’t faught for the title since 2014. Now likely to take Smith’s spot on the rankings, Glover is going to get a top 3 opponent for his next fight that could potentially land him in place to challenge for the title once again.
The UFC has a satisfying card once again, which is even better since we got to watch it on a weekday. The UFC returns to Jacksonville this Saturday, May 15th, for UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris. For more information, fans are encouraged to check out https://www.ufc.com/events.