Smith, the No. 10-ranked light heavyweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, arrives in Las Vegas on a two-fight winning streak, which he earned with stoppage wins over Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute. Those results put him back on the right track after back-to-back losses against Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic that delayed his chance at another title shot after a lopsided loss to now-former champ Jon Jones.
Spann most recently stopped Misha Cirkunov to get back into the win column after a knockout loss to Johnny Walker. The setback against the Brazilian remains his only one inside the octagon with a 5-1 record in the UFC.
The winner of Saturday’s fight will remain in the hunt for a light heavyweight title shot.
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Round 1: Smith opens with a leg kick. Spann probing with his jab, Smith staying out of range. Spann takes the back off of an exchange and carries Smith over to his corner. Quick spin by Smith gets him out of there. Left hand lands clean on Spann’s jaw and Spann is hurt bad. Smith on top looking for a guillotine choke. Spann defends and gets his head free. Spann tries to slip out the back, Smith immediately attacks with an armbar, Spann again defends and escapes. Smith headhunting back on the feet. Spann lands a 1-2, but he eats another hard left. Smith with a right across the jaw as an off-balance Spann throws wild. Smith takes the back and he works to flatten Spann out. There’s the rear-naked choke by Smith and Spann taps. Lots of post-fight jawing between the two men, security steps in to keep them separated.
Official results: Anthony Smith def. Ryan Spann via submission (rear-naked choke) (R1, 3:47)