The UFC returns to action just four days after UFC 249, as Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira face off in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Teixeira in Jacksonville, Florida.
Smith and Teixeira take the top spot a card that includes 11 fights, and which is the second of three shows the UFC is putting on over an eight-day period.
Smith, Teixeira Remain on Fringes of Title Picture
Neither Teixeira (30-7) nor Smith (33-14) is a prime candidate to unseat Jon Jones at the top of the light heavyweight mountain. But both have had their shots at the champion before, and each has beaten enough contenders to earn their position in the UFC rankings.
Smith has won four of his five fights at light heavyweight with his only loss coming to Jones last March. Before then, he was a decent but unremarkable middleweight, winning a few fights, but deciding to move up after a loss to Thiago Santos.
UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Teixeira Odds (Main Card)
- Anthony Smith (-190) vs. Glover Teixeira (+150)
- Ben Rothwell (+112) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (-140)
- Alexander Hernandez (+100) vs. Drew Dober (-125)
- Ricky Simon (-175) vs. Ray Borg (+138)
- Karl Roberson (+146) vs. Marvin Vettori (-185)
Odds via PointsBet
Much of Smith’s career took place in Strikeforce and in smaller, regional circuits. As he points out, that means that the unusual circumstances forced upon the UFC by the coronavirus pandemic aren’t all that out of the ordinary for him.
“As crazy as it sounds, it’s super comfortable,” Smith told ESPN. “I fought in empty venues that were selling tickets. This is right up my alley.”
Now, the No. 4 ranked Smith sees the opportunity to earn one of the biggest wins of his career, not only by beating Teixeira, but by doing so in a way that nobody else has done before.
“I think Glover’s going to be forced to take some bad shots to stay safe and I think it will be a submission,” Smith told MMA Junkie. “That one would mean a lot to me. Getting a submission win over someone as heralded as Glover Teixeira on the ground? He’s a really good black belt. But so am I.”
Teixeira Still Going Strong at 40
Meanwhile, the 40-year-old Teixeira has managed to remain relevant in the light heavyweight division, even in the later stages of his career. After losing three of five fights, he has since rattled off three straight wins, including a split-decision victory over Nikita Krylov last September. He says he still has plenty of fighting left to do.
“I thought I was gonna retire when I was 35,” Teixeira said, via UFC.com. “Six years ago, I lost two fights in a row, Jon Jones and Phil Davis, and people were saying, ‘Glover is done.’ Then I got back in title contention again and I lost it again, but I keep grinding, I keep going, I keep pushing and I keep getting better.”
Still, the younger Smith enters the fight as a relatively strong favorite. PointsBet lists Smith at -190, with Teixeira fetching +150 odds. Teixeira remains more than capable of getting a finish, particularly on the mat, but Smith has shown the ability to simply overwhelm post-peak opponents in recent years.
In the UFC Fight Night co-main event, former light heavyweight Ovince St. Preux (-140) makes his heavyweight debut against Ben Rothwell (+112), while Drew Dober (-125) takes on Alexander Hernandez (+100) in a featured lightweight clash.