Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight finishers Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann will rematch this weekend (Sat., Aug. 26, 2023) at UFC Singapore inside Singapore Indoor Arena in Kallang, Singapore.
It sure looks like Smith’s long fight career is starting to catch up to him. His last two fights have seen Smith hesitant and unable to generate any effective offense. In fact, the last time Smith looked sharp inside the cage was Sept. 2021 against ... Ryan Spann (watch it). Whereas Smith has struggled since their first clash, “Superman” has picked up two of the biggest wins of his career. He also came up short last time out, however, falling short to the top-notch grappling of Nikita Krylov (watch highlights).
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Ryan Spann (UFC Vegas 37), Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Fight Night 138), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC Fight Night 153), Jimmy Crute (UFC 261), Mauricio Rua (UFC Fight Night 134), Hector Lombard (UFC Fight Night 116), Devin Clark (UFC Vegas 15)
Key Losses: Jon Jones (UFC 235), Glover Teixeira (UFC Jacksonville), Aleksandar Rakic (UFC Vegas 8), Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 125), Magomed Ankalaev (UFC 277), Johnny Walker (UFC Charlotte)
Keys to Victory: Smith may be in the midst of skid, but he’s a longtime veteran and former title challenger for a reason. When he lets his attacks go, Smith has good power in each of the famed eight limbs, and he’s also a rather skilled submission player.
In their first fight, Smith fought pissed off. It was great! He showed little-to-no respect for Spann’s vaunted knockout power, stunned him, and then quickly hopped on a submission. Though it’s always dangerous to throw down with a big puncher, that exact attitude is still necessary here.
Fighting is a sport that absolutely punishes passivity. If Smith walks into the cage lacking confidence or unprepared to impose his will, he’s going to get hurt — simple as that. A bit of aggression and confidence greatly improve his odds of being the hammer, and suddenly, another quick finish isn’t so impossible.
Key Wins: Dominick Reyes (UFC 281), Misha Cirkunov (UFC Vegas 21), Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (UFC 237), Devin Clark (UFC Fight Night 161), Ion Cutelaba (UFC Vegas 54)
Key Losses: Anthony Smith (UFC Vegas 37), Nikita Krylov (UFC Vegas 70), Johnny Walker (UFC Fight Night 178), Karl Roberson (DWTNCS 2017)
Keys To Victory: Spann has some serious physical gifts. He’s wildly strong and hits absurdly hard, which is funny given that Spann mostly won via submission while on the regional scene. Spann has finally achieved the type of success to secure a Top 10 ranking, but it feels like his potential has yet to be reached.
Both men’s struggles seem to be mental. Whereas Smith is currently lacking in an ability to pull the trigger, Spann is handing away winnable fights. Why in the world would he shoot a takedown on Krylov, the man desperate to wrestle him?!?
Making good choices is pivotal here, because Smith is skilled enough to catch him on the feet or the ground if he overdoes it. Spann has to do a better job of keeping the fight in the area where he’s doing well, whether that’s distance kickboxing or wrestling into top position. He cannot let himself get lost in the chaos.
The ability to maintain composure is what makes fighters elite.
The stakes are high for each man.
Smith has to prove that he’s still a Top 10 Light Heavyweight. Whether he likes it or not, he’s settled into a gatekeeper role. This bout will determine if he’s guarding the doors to title contention or to the rankings as a whole. More importantly, Smith is facing a three-fight losing streak. UFC is not particularly lenient with their well-paid veterans who can no longer contend, so job security will start to become an issue with another defeat.
As for Spann, he’s still trying to prove he can get over the hump and really fight his way into the title mix. At 31 years of age, there’s still time for “Superman” to put it all together and become a player at 205 pounds. Defeating Smith in this rematch would be a nice way to demonstrate growth, as well as as rebound from the Krylov loss.
At UFC Singapore, Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann will throw down in the co-main event. Which man has his hand raised?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Singapore fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 8 a.m. ET.
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