This past Saturday at UFC 261, Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (35-16) and Jimmy Crute (12-2) kicked off the PPV main card. It was a big fight for both men as Jimmy Crute was looking to continue his rise while Lionheart was looking to get back towards the top of the division.
Jimmy Crute was a popular pick leading up to UFC 261. While Lionheart looked good against Devin Clark in his last win, his previous two fights left a ton to be desired. Crute looked like he could be a real threat in the light heavyweight division.
In all honesty, I picked Crute going into the fight. However, Lionheart looked sensational on Saturday night. When the fight started, Smith immediately established his piston-like jab. Crute’s face was showing some damage very early in the first round.
Towards the end of the first round at UFC 261, Smith landed a brutal leg kick that landed right on the knee of Crute. Crute immediately went down, but he tried to continue. After the round was over, the doctor checked Crute out and waved off the fight after he couldn’t walk without stumbling.
What’s next after UFC 261?
UFC 261 was a massive night for Lionheart. Beating Devin Clark is one thing, but finishing Jimmy Crute in the manner that he did was incredibly impressive. He’s shown everyone in his last two fights that he has plenty left in the tank.
With two wins in a row, what does the UFC do with Lionheart next? Well, he told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani yesterday that he simply doesn’t care. He said that if they want him to fight another rising contender he will or if they want to put him in a title eliminator, that’s fine too.
I think the UFC might seriously look at a matchup between Smith and Magomed Ankalaev (15-1) next. They are ranked sixth and seventh in the light heavyweight division currently. I think a fight between these two would be a perfect fight for the division.
If Smith wins, you put him right into a title eliminator. Ankalaev is one of the top prospects in the division and people think he can be a future UFC champion. Putting him in there with Lionheart would be a massive test, but if he passes, it might be time to either give him a title shot or a title eliminator.