UFC Match Maker: Anthony Smith – Paul Craig

Anthony Smith

Last weekend on the prelims of UFC London, there was a very intriguing matchup in the light heavyweight division. Top fifteen contenders battled it out as Paul Craig (16-4-1) took on Nikita Krylov (27-9). Craig entered the contest looking to pick up his fourth straight victory.

Paul Craig is such an interesting contender in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. In a way, he’s a pure specialist, yet, he’s oddly effective. In today’s MMA scene, specialist fighters are becoming less and less effective, yet Paul Craig is surging up the light heavyweight latter purely on his jiu jitsu.

Case and point, let’s take a look at UFC London. The fight was not going well for Craig and Krylov was landing big shots. Craig found himself on his back with shots raining down from Krylov. However, this is a spot that Craig is oddly very comfortable.

Before you could blink, Craig threw up his legs and caught Krylov in a triangle choke. Krylov was forced to tap and Craig got the win at UFC London. It was Craig’s seventh career win via the triangle choke which has become his signature move.

UFC Fight to Make

When Paul Craig joined the UFC, he was 8-0 and he won his first fight. However, Craig would go just 2-4 in his next six fights. Now, he’s on a stretch where he’s gone 5-0-1 in six fights with the lone draw coming against former champion Shogun Rua.

Craig and Shogun rematched in 2020 with Craig scoring the TKO win. After his latest win, there was one guy that Craig wanted to fight and that was former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (36-16). Lionheart is currently ranked fifth in the division and he’s looking for a fight himself.

Both men are now inside the top eight and they both are looking for opponents. They also have styles that would make for a very compelling matchup and I’d be very interested to see how the fight would go if it touches the ground. Lionheart has incredible jiu jitsu himself.

Smith told Michael Bisping that he would definitely accept the fight if that’s what the UFC wanted. With both men needing a fight and both men interested, I don’t see any reason why this fight won’t be made and I think you’ll see it over the summer.