Kicking off the main card of UFC 277 was a pivotal light heavyweight matchup with potential title implications. Former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (36-16) was taking on the surging Magomed Ankalaev (17-1).
Ankalaev came into the UFC unbeaten and lost his first fight inside the octagon by last second submission to Paul Craig. However, since that loss, he’s been perfect. He’s gone 8-0 to earn this shot against Lionheart and put himself in the title picture.
Anthony Smith’s career looked to be in trouble a couple of years ago after a brutal loss to Aleksandar Rakic. It was the second straight tough loss for the former title challenger, however, he wasn’t ready to give up on his UFC dreams.
Smith has since won three fights in a row by first round stoppage. He was looking to stop the Ankalaev hype train tonight and earn himself his second title shot.
UFC 277 Recap
The UFC 277 opener kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Ankalaev bounces on his toes from the outside as Smith takes the center. Low kick lands for Ankalaev. A minute in and both men are just feeling the other out at this point.
Another low kick from Ankalaev and Smith answers with one of his own. Both exchange kicks again and Smith lands a glancing right hand. High kick attempt from Smith. Jab from Ankalaev and a right hand answer for Smith.
Another nice little right for Smith. Body kick from Ankalaev. Halfway through the round and still nothing major has landed for either man. Ankalaev misses with a wild right and Smith lands a leg kick. Low kick from Ankalaev lands and Smith counters with a left.
Crowd beginning to boo as the men are still feeling the other out. Big head kick for Ankalaev lands. Smith plotting forward but that landed. Combination attempt from Lionheart but Ankalaev lands cleaner counters. Right hand over the top for Lionheart.
Body kick from Smith. The round comes to a close and it was a close round, but I think Ankalaev will take it at UFC 277.
Entering the second at UFC 277 and this is a high level chess match but not a ton of action. Smith immediately takes the center and starts pressing forward. Heavy pressure from Lionheart and he’s coming with combinations.
Ankalaev answers with counters and Smith shoots for a takedown. Smith with cage pressure here just leaning on Ankalaev. Lionheart tries for the takedown but he can’t get it. Instead, it looks like he’s starting to attempt to pull guard.
Ankalaev doing a good job of controlling posture and he lands a couple of nice shots. Smith is just holding here as it looks like he might be nursing an ankle injury. Ankalaev postures up and starts landing bombs.
Smith can’t defend here and Ankalaev is throwing heat. The referee calls a stop to the action and Ankalaev gets the TKO win at UFC 277.
Magomed Ankalaev def. Anthony Smith by TKO – Round 2