Matches to Make After UFC Fight Night 171

By Brian Knapp May 14, 2020


So severe was the beating that they were collecting Anthony Smith’s teeth off the mat.

The ageless Glover Teixeira continued to defy Father Time, as he disposed of Smith with fifth-round punches in the UFC Fight Night 171 main event on Wednesday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Smith succumbed to an accumulation of damage 64 seconds into Round 5, the unwitting victim in an early contender for “Beatdown of the Year.”

Teixeira steadied himself after a difficult first round in which he absorbed 29 significant strikes to the head and saw “Lionheart” outland him by close to a 3-to-1 margin. Smith pushed an unsustainable pace and began showing signs of fatigue in Round 2, his slowed movements and labored breathing prompting his counterpart to shift gears. The Factory X representative’s situation only deteriorated from there. Teixeira floored him with a left hook in the middle stanza, advanced to a dominant position on the canvas and unleashed hell. Smith somehow survived, but the nightmarish damage inflicted upon him had lasting effects. Over the final two-plus rounds, Teixeira connected on 94 significant strikes and took just 13 in return.

In the aftermath of UFC Fight Night “Smith vs. Teixeira,” here are four matches that ought to be made:

Glover Teixeira vs. Jan Blachowicz: Judging by his latest performance, Teixeira has no plans to ride off quietly into the sunset. The 40-year-old former Shooto Brazil champion railroaded Smith to extend his current winning streak to four fights and put himself in position to pick off a few more top-shelf light heavyweights before calling it a career. While a rematch with champion Jon Jones still appears unlikely, Teixeira does have plenty of intriguing options available to him at 205 pounds and even mentioned the possibility of returning to heavyweight. Blachowicz, 37, has rattled off three consecutive victories since his February 2019 technical knockout loss to Thiago Santos. The onetime KSW champion has set his sights on Jones, but there does not seem to be much momentum behind a potential pairing between the two.

Ben Rothwell vs. Alexey Oleynik: The optics were not pleasing to the eye—they rarely are with Rothwell—but “Big Ben” managed to eke out a split decision over Ovince St. Preux in the heavyweight co-headliner. St. Preux cracked the International Fight League veteran with several left hooks in the second half of the fight but could not overcome the disparities in size and aggression. Rothwell applied merciless pressure, marched down the former University of Tennessee linebacker with punches and trapped him in the clinch, at which point he cut loose with uppercuts and knee strikes. The Kenosha, Wisconsin, native now finds himself in possession of consecutive victories for the first time in more than four years. The 42-year-old Oleynik last competed at UFC 249, where he took a split verdict from former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum.

Drew Dober vs. Diego Ferreira: Dober won for the sixth time in seven outings, as he brought down Alexander Hernandez with punches in the second round of their lightweight showcase. Hernandez bowed out 4:25 into Round 2. Dober cornered Hernandez throughout their encounter, forced him into a constant state of retreat and let his hands do the rest, as the Elevation Fight Team standout continued his dark horse ascent on the 155-pound ladder. At 31 years of age, he looks nothing like the fighter who started his UFC career 1-3 with one no contest. Ferreira’s current six-fight winning streak stretches across five-plus years. The Fortis MMA rep last appeared at UFC 246, where he submitted Anthony Pettis with a rear-naked choke on Jan. 18.

Ricky Simon vs. Sean O'Malley: Something of a bull in a china shop at 135 pounds, Simon rebounded from back-to-back losses to Urijah Faber and Rob Font with a three-round split decision over Ray Borg on the main card. The former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion exploited his size and strength advantages, completed seven takedowns and managed to outgrapple to notoriously slippery Borg during their exchanges on the ground. Where exactly Simon falls in the bantamweight pecking order remains to be seen, but for now, he has settled in as a dependable action fighter. O’Malley improved to 11-0 on March 7, when he wiped out Jose Alberto Quinonez with a head kick and follow-up punches at UFC 248.

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