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UFC Jacksonville start time, who is fighting tonight at ‘Smith vs Teixeira’ on ESPN+

UFC Fight Night Smith v Teixeira: Weigh-Ins Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is right back at it with its second event in five days, as UFC Jacksonville is set to pop off later tonight (Weds., May 13, 2020) inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Headlining the event is a Light Heavyweight bout pitting Anthony Smith against Glover Teixeira. In the co-main event, Ovince Saint Preux will move up to the Heavyweight division to take on Ben Rothwell.

What’s Hot:

UFC’s 205-pound division is still firmly under the control of Jon Jones ... and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. That means that all of the men behind the champ are basically trying to get another crack at dethroning him, with just a handful of contenders who have yet to get their first opportunities. Teixeira and Smith have both come up short in their respective bids to topple Jones, but they are still motivated to get another chance to prove their worthiness. Teixeira is currently riding a three-fight win streak and sits at No. 9 in the official rankings. The 40-year-old combatant shows no signs of slowing down and is still as dangerous as ever thanks to his “Hands of Stone” and world-class submission skills.

Smith (No. 3), meanwhile, is a young lion who recently showed that he is not just a one-trick pony, submitting Alexander Gustaffson with an impressive rear-naked choke (see it). Still, it’s not in Smith’s best interest to go to the ground against Teixeira, so a striking battle seems to be on deck. While Teixeira has the power, he’s not exactly the most technical striker, something “Lionheart” can take advantage of during their five-round bout. The 205-pound division is pretty wide open at the moment as far as title contenders go, though it seems Jan Blachowicz will get the next shot at the strap. But after that, Jones is running out of Top 10-ranked fighters who he either hasn’t yet defeated or haven’t earned their stripes for a title shot. In other words, a win for either man here puts them in a nice position to get a do-over against the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.

What’s Not:

At this point, complaining about match ups just isn’t fair to the promotion, as Dana White and Co. are doing their best best to piece together fight cards. But that actually makes for some decent match ups we weren’t expecting, which could surprise us all, much like UFC 249 did.

Original Card Vs. Actual Card:

UFC’s recent two-month break due to COVID 19 forced the promotion to shuffle scheduled fights to different events, meaning most of the upcoming shows will be completely different from their original incarnations. A women’s Bantamweight bout between Sijara Eubanks and Sarah Moras was set to go down at UFC 249, but it was ultimately scrapped after a few delays and rescheduled for this event. Also, a Heavyweight bout between Andrei Arlovski and Philipe Lins was scheduled to go down at UFC Fight Night 174 earlier this month, but that bout was also postponed and moved here.

Ovince Saint Preux was originally slated to face Ion Cutelaba at this event – which was originally scheduled for April 25 — but after Cutelaba was stranded because of travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, “OSP” decided to pack on the pounds to move up to Heavyweight to face Ben Rothwell. It’s a head-scratching decision to say the least, as Rothwell will have a huge size and power advantage, which won’t bode well for Saint Preux.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie Dern was set to make her return at UFC Lincoln, but was stranded in Brazil and now her bout against Hannah Cifers is set to be scheduled for another time. Michael Johnson was set to face Evan Dunham, but after the original event was postponed, the promotion opted to book Johnson against Thiago Moises, instead. Furthermore, a women’s Flyweight bout between Cynthia Calvillo and Antonina Shevchenko was postponed and will now be booked at a later date.


No major injuries to report; however, Karl Roberson was today admitted to the hospital after a bad weight cut. His fight with Marvin Vettori has been canceled as a result. And Vettori was mad as hell.

New Blood:

Isaac Villanueva will be making his Octagon debut when he takes on Chase Sherman in 265-pound action. Winner of four straight – all via knockout – Villanueva is riding high on confidence after putting in work under the Fury Fighting Championship banner for the last three years. In fact, his last two wins have come against former UFC big men in Rashad Coulter and Roger Narvaez. As for Sherman, he got the call back up to the big leagues after winning two straight on the regional circuit. Prior to that, “The Vanilla Gorilla” had dropped three straight inside the Octagon, bringing his UFC record to a paltry 2-5.

Lins is bringing his talents from Professional Fighters League (PFL) to take on former Heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, in “The Sunshine State.” Lins was PFL’s Heavyweight champion, racking up four consecutive stoppage victories during his time with the promotion. He will be facing a struggling “Pitbull,” who has dropped four of his last five outings.

How The “Prelims” Look:

Andrei Arlovski will look to turn things around when he welcomes Philipe Lins to the Octagon. “The Pitbull” is just 1-5-1 over his last six outings, so he needs a huge win to hang onto his UFC career. And he will have a tough time against Lins, as the big man comes in with some decent credentials and several knockouts on his resume.

Also, Eubanks will look to snap her own two-fight skid when she faces Sarah Moras. It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that Eubanks was in title contention, and now shes on the cusp of falling down a very deep hole that will be hard to climb out of. Moras, meanwhile, recently snapped her horrid three fight losing streak by taking out Liana Jojua last September. Her stint inside the Octagon has been sub-par, but a win over Eubanks will go a long way in giving her some much-needed confidence and momentum.

Rapping Bantamweight contender, Brian Kelleher, will look to earn his second straight win as he faces off against Hunter Azure. Hunter is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the 135-pound wight class, winning all eight of his pro MMA fights, including his bout on Dana White’s Contender Series, as well as his official UFC debut against Brad Katona. If “Boom” isn’t careful, Azure could increase his stock at his expense.

Also, Michael Johnson will face off against Thiago Moises in a must-win fight for “The Menace.” For more details on that, jump to the next section.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

Johnson has had a rough stretch as of late, losing two straight, a knockout loss to Josh Emmett at Featherweight (see it) and then a tough split-decision loss to Stevie Ray in his return to Lightweight. As it stands, “The Menace” is in limbo. Sure, he’s fighting at 155 pounds here, his natural weight class, but when you lose back-to-back fights in two different divisions, it’s really hard to get your rhythm. And that will only be magnified if Johnson suffers his third straight defeat at the hands of Moises, who is also looking to get back into the win column.

Interest Level: 7 of 10

Again, it’s hard to criticize these cards as UFC is simply tying to make do with what is given to them due to worldwide travel restrictions and last-minute hiccups. There is an interesting Lightweight bout between Alexander Hernandez and Drew Dober which could turn into a bangfest. Hernandez got back on the winning track in his last outing by taking out Francisco Trinaldo in a hard-fought battle. Prior to that, he had his eight fight win streak snapped by Donald Cerrone, slowing down his momentum in the process. But if he’s expecting an easy night at the office against Dober, he’s in for a real surprise, as Drew has quietly put in some impressive performances since 2017. In fact, he’s won five of his last six, with his lone loss coming at the hands of Beneil Dariush.

Also, Ray Borg will go back up to Bantamweight to face off against Ricky Simon. It’s a good move for Borg, as his scale fails trying to get to Flyweight just keep piling up. Then again, he has missed the 135-pound mark before, though he did manage to make weight this time around. In his way is a Ricky Simon, who is hungry for a win after losing two straight at the hands of Uriajh Faber and Rob Font.

Rounding out the main card will be catchweight fight between Karl Roberson and Marvin Vettori after Roberson came in heavy (video here). Despite his scale fail, Roberson has looked good as of late, winning two straight. Vettori, meanwhile. has also won his last two, with his last defeat coming at the hands of current Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya. A third straight win would go a long way for each man’s goal of cracking the Top 15.

Enjoy the fights!

Full Fight Card:

UFC Fight Night Main Event On ESPN+:

205 lbs.: Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira

UFC Fight Night Main Card On ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET):

265 lbs.: Ben Rothwell vs. Ovince Saint Preux
155 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Alexander Hernandez
135 lbs.: Ray Borg vs. Ricky Simon
185 lbs.: Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori — CANCELED (Details)

UFC Fight Night ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):

265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Philipe Lins
155 lbs.: Michael Johnson vs. Thiago Moises
135 lbs.: Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras
155 lbs.: Gabriel Benitez vs. Omar Morales
145 lbs.: Hunter Azure vs. Brian Kelleher
265 lbs.: Chase Sherman vs. Ike Villanueva

***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.*** will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Jacksonville fight card on fight night, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.

For much more on tonight’s event click here.

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