Smith’s (36-16 MMA, 11-6 UFC) striking and grappling were both a level above Spann (19-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in the key matchup. He rocked his opponent with the hands multiple times before locking in a rear-naked choke to force the submission at the 3:47 mark of Round 1.
The light heavyweight bout was the UFC Fight Night 192 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It streamed on ESPN+.
Both men came out aggressive to start the fight. Smith went to the leg kicks that were successful in his previous outing against Jimmy Crute, and Spann looked to counter with heavy blows. They got into some wild exchanges, and in the midst of the chaos Smith clipped and dropped Spann. He jumped on top and looked to finish the fight, but Spann stayed calm and avoided the follow ups. They reversed positions on the ground, and Smith searched for an armbar, but Spann spun free.
Once they got back to the feet, though, the momentum shifted back to Smith. His left hook was money over and over, and he clipped Spann multiple times and put him on wobbly legs. Spann went into survival mode as he shot for takedowns, but that allowed Smith to take his back and flatten him out on the canvas. Smith snuck the forearm under the throat and forced the tap out with a rear-naked choke.
After the submission, Smith got heated and started yelling in Spann’s face. They had to be separated as security filled the cage, but eventually cooler heads prevailed and they shook hands.
After the fight, Smith reiterated his pre-fight comments of wanting a rematch with Aleksander Rakic.
“I want Aleksander Rakic,” Smith said in his post-fight interview with Michael Bisping. “He’s just sitting around. He’s not getting the title. Either I get that fight or I’m going to skip him.”
Rakic quickly responded to the callout, and said he would be more than happy to run it back in December (via Twitter):
I’m free in December @Mickmaynard2
— Aleksandar Rakic (@rakic_ufc) September 19, 2021
“Merry Christmas to me,” Smith said.
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 192 results include:
Anthony Smith def. Ryan Spann via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:47
Ion Cutelaba def. Devin Clark via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-26, 29-27)
Ariane Lipski def. Mandy Bohm via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Arman Tsarukyan def. Christos Giagos via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:09
Nate Maness def. Tony Gravely via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:10
Joaquin Buckley def. Antonio Arroyo via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:26
Tafon Nchukwi def. Mike Rodriguez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Raquel Pennington def. Pannie Kianzad via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rong Zhu def. Brandon Jenkins via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:35
Montel Jackson def. JP Buys via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Erin Blanchfield def. Sarah Alpar via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
Carlston Harris def. Impa Kasanganay via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:38
Heili Alateng vs. Gustavo Lopez declared draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-28)
Hannah Goldy def. Emily Whitmire via verbal submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:17
UFC Fight Night 192: Best photos from Las Vegas
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UFC Fight Night 192: Official scorecards from Las Vegas
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