UFC 249 returned last Saturday and gave the sporting world a sigh of relief as we now have something to bet on and watch aside from Russian ping pong and Korean baseball. The first live major sport to return in the United States in nearly two months, the UFC is treating us with a Wednesday fight card in between back-to-back Saturday events. UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Teixeira may not have the stacked card that UFC 249 had but there are still plenty of good fighters on this card. In total, there will be 11 fights on this card.
- Heavyweight: Chase Sherman (14-6) vs Ike Villanueva (16-9)
- Bantamweight: Hunter Azure (8-0) vs Brian Kelleher (20-10)
- Lightweight: Gabriel Benitez (21-7) vs Omar Morales (9-0)
- Women’s Bantamweight: Sijara Eubanks (4-4) vs Sarah Moras (6-5)
- Lightweight: Michael Johnson (19-15) vs Thiago Moises (12-4)
- Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski (28-19) vs Philipe Lins (14-3)
- Middleweight: Karl Roberson (9-2) vs Marvin Vettori (14-3-1)
- Bantamweight: Ray Borg (13-4) vs Ricky Simon (15-3)
- Lightweight: Drew Dober (22-9) vs Alexander Hernandez (11-2)
Heavyweight Co-Main Event: Ovince St. Preux (24-13) vs Ben Rothwell (37-12)
Ovince St. Preux, who is traditionally a Light Heavyweight fighter, will be moving up to the Heavyweight division to take on Ben Rothwell.
After an 18-6 start to his career, St. Preux has seen more defeat than victory, going 6-7 in his last 13 contests. When at his best, St. Preux is capable of winning by knockout (11) or submission (8). St. Preux favorite finishing method is the “Von Flue choke” as he has done so four times in his career, three of which in his last five victories.
Rothwell has 28 career knockout victories. He has pulled off six submission victories as well, mostly guillotine chokes. His last non-guillotine choke victory came 12 years ago and he himself hasn’t been knocked out since 2009. Considering some of the fighters he has faced (Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski) that haven’t been able to knock him out, St. Preux shouldn’t be a concern in that fashion for Rothwell.
St. Preux has a one-inch reach advantage is one year younger than Rothwell. Moving up to Heavyweight, St. Preux may be on for a tough bout against a strong Rothwell. St. Preux has only been stopped five times in his career and shouldn’t have to worry much about Rothwell’s ability to pull off a submission (except for maybe a guillotine choke). Instead, the power of Rothwell may be a big challenge for St. Preux, who is a small -122 favorite.
The longer this fight stays standing, the more it favors Rothwell. St. Preux may need to finish this fight on the ground or hope to edge Rothwell out in points by controlling the majority of this fight by keeping it on the mat as much as possible
Light Heavyweight Main Event: Anthony Smith (33-14) vs Glover Teixeira (30-7)
Anthony Smith is coming off of a surprising upset victory over Alexander Gustafsson back in June of 2019. In an impressive fight, Smith got Gustafsson to tap in the fourth round with a rear-naked choke.
Glover Teixeira is coming off of a victory against Nikita Krylov back in September of last year. Teixeira managed to pull out a split decision victory in a fight that surely could have gone either way.
Smith has gone 7-2 in his last nine fights, all stoppage victories (five knockout and two submission). He is 4-1 since moving up to Light Heavyweight with his only loss coming to Jon Jones via decision.
Teixeira is on a three-fight winning streak, including back-to-back submission victories prior to his win against Krylov. The 40-year old has been able to win fights by any means throughout his entire career. In his 30 career victories, Teixeira has 17 wins by knockout and eight by submission, showing he is capable of battling both standing and on the mat. He is tied for the most stoppage victories in the UFC Light Heavyweight division with 10 and also tied for the most submission victories in the division with five.
Smith has a slight one-inch reach advantage and is nine years younger than Teixeira. However, Teixeira has never been submitted in his career while Smith has been submitted four times. He has also been knocked out eight times in his fighting career compared to just three times for Teixeira.
This should be an entertaining fight that could end either way. Smith is the favorite sitting at around -160. The younger fighter should have the advantage if the fight stays standing but if Teixeira can take this fight to the ground, the advantage is in his favor.
Image from UFC.com