The second leg of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s three-show tour inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, went down on Wednesday with UFC Fight Night 171—an event headlined by a pivotal light heavyweight pairing between former title challengers Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira.
Smith jumped out to a dazzling start in the first round, where he battered the Brazilian with precision muay Thai and pushed a dizzying pace. However, Teixeira withstood the assault and began to score himself in Round 2. The wheels then fell off for “Lionheart.” Teixeira turned the fight into a one-sided drubbing in the middle stanza, as he rocked Smith on several occasions and appeared to be closing in on a finish more than once. The damage continued to pile up, and Smith continued to deteriorate the deeper the fight went. Teixeira brought it to a close 64 seconds into Round 5, as he took down the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder and assaulted him with ground-and-pound until referee Jason Herzog had seen enough.
“In the second round, I saw him slow down a little bit, so I got to tag him a little bit,” Teixeira said. “I knew I would bring him to the deeper waters in the third round and start hitting him. He started to stop in front of me and [was] not moving anymore, and I knew it was going to be my night.”
Teixeira, 40, once again defied the odds and beat back Father Time. He now finds himself on a four-fight winning streak, with three of those four victories resulting in finishes. Afterward, talk turned to Teixeira’s next assignment and focused on three potential targets: champion Jon Jones, Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz.
“Whatever, any of those three guys that you just say,” Teixeira said. “Jan Blachowicz, if he doesn’t want to wait for Jon Jones for a long time. I don’t know. Let’s do it. Whatever, any of those three guys that you mentioned. I respect all of them. [Thiago Santos] in Brazil. I don’t know if it is a good time with the [COVID-19] situation, but it would be a good fight. I like Jan, too. I like the way he fights. He has been fighting really good. I have been fighting really good. It’s not a bad fight.”
Smith was no match for the onetime Shooto Brazil champion across the final two-plus rounds, as he offered little in the way of return fire. UFC broadcasters Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier and Paul Felder were vocal in their criticism of Smith’s corner for allowing the beatdown to continue. The sentiment spilled over into social media, where fans took aim at Factory X trainer Marc Montoya. Smith suffered a broken nose and fractured orbital, lost two teeth and sustained a large cut under his right eye.
“I couldn’t keep my mouthpiece in place due to missing teeth,” Smith told ESPN. “I looked down and [my tooth] was on the canvas, so I reached down and handed it to [Herzog].”