Trevor Smith refused to be a steppingstone.
A +102 underdog according to BetDSI.com, the Strikeforce veteran turned back previously unbeaten Ultimate Fighting Championship newcomer Joseph Gigliotti (-124), as he claimed a one-sided unanimous decision in their three-round middleweight showcase at UFC Fight Night “Rodriguez vs. Caceres” on Saturday at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. All three judges awarded Smith a 10-8 round, the 35-year-old sweeping the scorecards with matching 30-26 marks.
Gigliotti had issues with distance. Smith lured the overzealous Power MMA prospect into close quarters and completed four of his six takedown attempts, per FightMetric. He executed 10 guard passes and out-landed Gigliotti by a 105-24 margin in total strikes. Of the 42 significant strikes Smith landed, 39 were from the clinch or on the ground. He also delivered the signature blow of the bout, as he appeared to break Gigliotti’s nose with a second-round knee strike that resulted in a knockdown.
Smith was one of two underdogs to spring upsets in Utah. American Top Team’s Santiago Ponzinibbio entered his welterweight feature as a slight -105 underdog against Zak Cummings (-115). The hard-hitting Argentine kickboxer captured a unanimous decision across three rounds, earning 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 nods from the judges.
Ponzinibbio, 29, outstruck Cummings in all three rounds and trapped him on the feet, successfully defending four of the five takedown attempts mounted against him.