Devonte Smith will have a new opponent for his first octagon appearance of 2022.
A person with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed that Smith will now face Ludovit Klein at UFC 272. The event takes place March 5 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Eurosport was first to report the new booking. Smith subsequently revealed the switch on social media.
Klein will step in on a little over a week’s notice to replace Erick Gonzalez, who revealed on Thursday he was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a foot injury.
Hey everyone just wanna reach out to let you know I will no longer be fighting March 5th. I suffered an injury that involved me having to get 3 stitches to the bottom of my foot.Thank you for all the support and love I have been receiving during camp, Ill be back soon as I can.— Erick Gonzalez (@GhostPepper_UFC) February 24, 2022
After an impressive start to his UFC career with consecutive first-round finishes of Julian Erosa and Dong Hyun Ma, Smith has gone 1-2 over his next three appearances. “King Kage” was stopped by Khama Worthy in one of the biggest upsets of 2019 at UFC 241, but was able to bounce back 18 months later with a doctor’s stoppage TKO win over Justin Jaynes. Smith went on to face Jamie Mullarkey at UFC Vegas 38 this past October where he was finished in the second round.
Klein hopes jumping up to lightweight can get him back in the win column after suffering 2021 losses to Mike Trizano and Nate Landwehr. “Mr. Highlight” lived up to his nickname in his octagon debut when he put away Shane Young with strikes in just over a minute at UFC 253 in September 2020.
UFC 272 will be headlined by a five-round welterweight bout between bitter rivals Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.