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Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith winner expected to be UFC’s next Light Heavyweight title challenger

UFC Fight Night: Smith v Spann Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

There’s a lot to like in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight division as the summer approaches.

This weekend (Sat., June 11, 2022) at UFC 275 in Kallang, Singapore, the 205-pound crown will be on the line as 42-year-old champ, Glover Teixeira, aims to make his first successful defense by taking out Czech highlight-reel finishing machine, Jiri Prochazka. Ahead of the clash, some clarity going forward has been shed.

LIVE! Watch UFC 295 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

TWO TITLES UP FOR GRABS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sat., Nov. 11, 2023, with a re-worked pay-per-view (PPV) main card. In the ESPN+-streamed main event, former 205-pound roost-ruler, Jiri Prochazka, will lock horns with ex-Middleweight kingpin, Alex Pereira, for the promotion’s vacant Light Heavyweight title. In UFC 295’s co-main event, top-ranked Heavyweight contenders, Sergei Pavlovich (No. 2) and Tom Aspinall (No. 4), will collide for the interim strap after division champion, Jon Jones, was injured with a torn pectoral muscle and forced to withdraw (video).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Speaking with Spinnin Backfist yesterday (Tues., June 7, 2022), UFC President, Dana White, shared that the winner of the upcoming bout between No. 4-ranked contender Magomed Ankalaev and No. 5-ranked Anthony Smith will determine the next title challenger. The pair are set to throw down at UFC 277 in Dallas, Texas, on July 30, 2022.

Ankalaev’s (17-1) lone loss in the Octagon came in his debut opposite submission ace, Paul Craig (watch highlights). A fight that he was dominating until the literal last second, Ankalaev has been perfect with eight straight victories since.

Smith, on the other hand, had a bit of a rocky run going 1-2 immediately following his first career title shot against Jon Jones in March 2019 (watch highlights). However, “Lionheart” has regained momentum with three straight wins, comprising two submissions of Ryan Spann (watch highlights) and Devin Clark (watch highlights), along with a technical knockout of Jimmy Crute.

Before fans can get excited about the thought of either man fighting for the strap, UFC 275 will have to decide who they’d be against.

“Stylistically, this is a very, very good fight,” White told The Underground, when speaking on Teixeira vs. Prochazka. “That’s what everybody’s saying. Everybody thinks that Jiri’s gonna be in big trouble on the ground with him cause it will eventually get there and that’s what remains to be seen [about Prochazka].”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 277 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 277: “Pena vs. Nunes 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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