Anthony Smith is ready to halt another rising contender.
MMA Fighting confirmed an initial report from MMA Island today (Weds., Nov. 23, 2022) that top Ultimate Fighting Championship Light Heavyweight contenders, Smith (36-17) and Jamahal Hill (11-1, 1 no contest), will collide on March 11, 2023. The bout will headline the Fight Night event, but no location or venue has been determined just yet.
Smith will return to the Octagon looking to rebound off a tough defeat to Magomed Ankalaev in July 2022 via second round technical knockout. The loss snapped “Lionheart’s” resurgent three-fight win streak and saw him injured in the process. Now fully healed from the frightening blood clot that formed in his broken leg, he’ll look to hand Hill a second UFC setback.
Hill has been a consistent danger on his current stretch, stopping all three of his last opponents with strikes. None of his wins were bigger than his last, ending the UFC career of one-time title challenger, Thiago Santos, with a fourth round technical knockout (watch highlights). A win over Smith could very well set Hill up for one more fight to earn a title shot at the very least.
The announcement of the bout comes at a pivotal time in the division as earlier today, the champion, Jiri Prochazka, vacated his title after revealing he suffered a devastating shoulder injury that will require surgery. Ankalaev will now compete against Jan Blachowicz for the title at UFC 282 on Dec. 10, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada, closing out the last UFC pay-per-view (PPV) of the year.
A Flyweight clash between Tyson Nam and Bruno Gustavo da Silva is the only other fight currently on tap for the March 11, 2023 event.