Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira are bringing the main event of the UFC Fight Night 171 held in Jacksonville, Florida. It is the lightweight fight, between two guys who were title challengers in the past, unfortunately for both, without success. Both participants are among the top 10 places in the light heavyweight rankings, with Smith occupying place No.3, and Teixeira No.8.
Smith (-180) lost to Jon Jones at the UFC 235 in early March 2019, via unanimous decision. It was the bout for the title, but the 31-year old didn’t have a chance against Bones. However, he managed to get back on track beating Alexander Gustafsson just four months later, submitting the Swed in front of his fans. He would earn the Performance of the Night bonus.
That was his seventh victory over the past nine events, with the note that he lost to Thiago Santos and defeated Mauricio Rua, Volken Oezdemir, Rashard Evans, etc, during that time.
The Lionheart is a pretty versatile fighter who knows how to solve battles with both hard punches and submissions. Of course, his main strength is a fantastic power of his strikes and an array of combinations in which he uses both elbows and legs pretty well.
Smith is an aggressive fighter, the one who likes to dictate the tempo, and his rushes are something problematic for anyone across the ring. He is a solid wrestler too, and knows how to execute on the ground if there is a chance for that.
Teixeira (+155) is a veteran, and one of the legends of the sport. Even though he is 40 and many believe that he isn’t capable of fighting at the highest level, he keeps proving all the doubters wrong with constant comebacks.
He lost to Corey Anderson in July 2018, and since then, posted three wins in a row. The first was a submission against Karl Robertson, the next was against Ion Cutelaba (also submission), which was the Performance of the Night, and in the end, beat Nikita Kyrilov, via split decision at the UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Gaethje in last September.
Even though these guys weren’t a top tier of the UFC, we still can’t diminish the triumphs. The organization recognized this also, and set him up a clash with No.3 in the rankings, after which Glover could come up as the possible title challenger if he manages to notch another success. Of course, that is when the entire situation surrounding the belt and Jon Jones’ status clears up.
Teixeira is a more versatile fighter than Smith, in terms that his grappling is more sophisticated and that he has a more diversified arsenal of attacks on the ground than his rival. However, his age is problematic in this situation.
If Teixeira manages to withstand the pressure in the first two maybe three rounds, he will be much closer to win here. Smith is a guy who had 47 matches and saw the distance just five times, so it is safe to say that endurance is not his strong side. We predict his burst from time to time, but also on the other side, Glover’s intention to slow down the fight and to try to lure Smith into some grappling. It would dramatically increase his chances for the win.
We are suggesting to pick Teixeira, or if you are uncertain in that, to bet on full five rounds.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.