Light heavyweight contenders Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir and Anthony “Lionheart” Smith faced off tonight (Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018) from Moncton Events Center in New Brunswick, Canda, live and free on Fox Sports 1. Anthony Smith, a former middleweight journeyman, was trying to build on two quick knockout wins over former, albiet faded, champions Rashad Evans Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Volkan, meanwhile, was trying to prove his meteoric rise was no fluke after getting TKOed in Daniel Cormier’s last light heavyweight title defense.
They touched gloves. Oezdemir opened with a leg kick. Anthony Smith drove in for a takedown, which Oezdemir stuffed and then reversed positions against the cage. Oezdemir held him there for a little while as they trade body and leg knees, then they separated. Smith kicked and Volkan drove in with a barrage of punches until Smith circled out, stuffing another shot from Smith. Volkan jabbed, threw a left hook. He pressured Smith up against the cage, ate a hook, made the universal gesture for “that’s all you got?” Smith was using a left hook whenever Volkan stepped in, and landed an overhand right. The referee stopped the bout for an eyepoke from Smith. They restarted. Oezdemir came out aggressive, Smith backing him off with a lead hook. Volkan ate a right hand, drove Smith backwards with another combination. They clinched against the cage, with Oezdemir controlling Smith against the cage.
Oezdemir opened with leg kicks, punting Smith’s front leg out. “Lionheart” countered with a big right hand, then another, backing Oezdemir up with a combination. Oezdemir kept up his low kicking strategy, then when Smith stepped in too aggressively he took him down, advancing to half guard. Smith tried to leglock Smith, but Oezdemir wriggled free and punched Smith from the wrestler’s ride as Smith turtled. Oezdemir landed a body knee when Smith grabbed one of his wrists, stopping his punches. Oezdemir eventually worked his wrist free, with Smith seemingly content to stay turtled as Oezdemir worked, for the entire remainder of the round.
Volkan kept up his leg kicking strategy in the third, with Smith looking for an opening in the striking. Smith landed a hook and then another, backing Oezdemir up. Volkan landed a right hand, ate one, and Smith clinched and landed a knee. He swept Volkan for a moment, and they traded punches in the pocket. Volkan landed a couple elbows. Both men looked exhausted. Smith landed almost a Batman combination. low jab and nearly simultaneous right overhand, before taking Volkan down with a driving double. He took Volkan’s back, locking up a rear-naked choke that Oezdemir tried to tough his way through. Smith reversed grips and tapped Oezdemir! Amazing fight, “Lionheart” really earned his nickname in this bout. Great way to finish the night, Smith was still on his back minutes later, celebrating in total exhaustion.
Smith said in the post-fight interview that his leg is pretty banged up, and he was leaning on both the interviewer, Dan Hardy, and his coaches. He said he has been waiting his whole career for the confidence to ask Dana, Mick Maynard, and the brass one question: “My name is Anthony Smith and I want a title shot!”
Volkan, meanwhile, said he felt the momentum shifts and said that he had trouble breathing after Smith broke his nose again. He said he will be back, for sure, and will fight as soon as he can.
Official result: Anthony Smith def. Volkan Oezdemir via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:26 of Round 3
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