UFC 301 Preview and Prediction: Anthony Smith – Vitor Petrino

Anthony Smith

On the main card of UFC 301, a spot in the light heavyweight rankings is on the line. Former title challenger and current tenth ranked light heavyweight contender Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (37-19) is back as he takes on the undefeated sensation Vitor Petrino (11-0).

Starting with Petrino, this is a huge opportunity for him in front of his home country. Petrino earned himself a contract after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series. Since making his octagon debut, Petrino has gone a perfect 4-0 including two finishes. His last win was a decision over Tyson Pedro which has him knocking on the door of the rankings.

To walk through that door, he has to defeat Anthony Smith. While 35 isn’t that old in the fight game, the tires on Anthony Smith have a lot of wear on them after nearly 60 professional fights. Smith is also on a tough stretch having gone just 1-3 in his last four fights. The one win you could easily argue that he lost in a close decision against Ryan Spann.

That said, we’ve written off Anthony Smith before back at the end of 2020 when he was on another 1-3 stretch. What happened after that? The former UFC title challenger won three straight fights all by stoppage and proved to the world that he still has plenty in the tank. He needs another one of those performances tomorrow night.

UFC 301 Prediction

This is one of those classic fights that’s setup to propel a young contender in front of his home country against an aging lion who once fought for the title. The fight is there for Petrino to have a career performance in front of his home country at UFC 301 which would retain his undefeated record and move him into the light heavyweight rankings.

Petrino has power, he has speed, and he has great grappling. He technique isn’t incredibly clean in spots, but he’s got tremendous upside and he’s definitely a contender to watch. However, Anthony Smith is crafty and in terms of pure MMA skills, Anthony Smith is the better mixed martial artist.

However, with aging you lose things like speed and your reactions. Can he still have one of those “Y’all must’ve forgot” type of performances at UFC 301 or will he just continue to fade. I lean more towards continue to fade. He’s not going to go down easy and Petrino needs to be careful if he hurts Smith to not empty the tank.

I can easily see Petrino gassing out after nearly finishing the fight only to have the vet Anthony Smith take things over and get third round stoppage via exhaustion or submission. However, I don’t see it ultimately happening. I think Petrino fights extremely well and gets a finish at UFC 301.

Prediction: Vitor Petrino by TKO

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