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UFC Charlotte results: Johnny Walker punishes Anthony Smith with leg kicks leading to unanimous decision win

UFC Fight Night: Smith v Walker Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Johnny Walker continued his winning ways with a punishing performance over Anthony Smith in the UFC Charlotte co-main event.

Over three rounds, Walker punished Smith’s lead leg with a devastating series of calf kicks that did accumulating damage with each shot landed. Walker also scored a knockdown and picked his moments to explode forward with jumping knees and head kicks, but he just wasn’t quite able to put Smith away before final horn.

It was still more than enough for Walker to earn the victory, with the judges scoring the contest 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 in his favor to mark his third win in a row overall.

“I want to prove myself,” Walker said afterward. “I don’t want to finish him quickly. Because if I beat him too quickly, there’s no joy.”

Walker was sitting down hard on those calf kicks, which really dug into Smith’s legs and forced the one-time light heavyweight title challenger to come back at Walker with some seriously heavy hands. Smith was carrying a sledgehammer with his right hand, but Walker stepped into the exchanges and winged punches right alongside him.

With Smith in pursuit, Walker caught him with a stiff punch that appeared to rattle the 53-fight veteran momentarily, but that led to a takedown against the cage. Walker defended well on the ground until earning a reversal before the first round came to a close.

Walker continued to target that lead leg throughout the fight, but Smith looked to counter by throwing his overhand right, which started to find a home on the Brazilian’s chin.

It was more of the same with time winding down in the final round, with Walker satisfied with his repeated kicks that affected Smith’s movement on the feet. When Smith fired back, usually with that same right hand, Walker did an effective job to roll with the punch, with most of the impact landing on his shoulder rather than his head.

The continued damage to Smith’s leg eventually opened up a spot for Walker to connect with a stiff punch that dropped Smith down to the mat. Walker followed him to the floor briefly, but a stalemate on the ground led to him standing back up again.

While Smith was clearly compromised, Walker was still cautious to prevent a mistake in the closing moments of what was ultimately a one-sided unanimous decision win. Afterward, Walker jumped out of the cage so he could shake hands with former opponent and UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill, who was seated nearby watching the fights.

“He’s the champ,” Walker said while paying respect to Hill. “Then I said, ‘Goodbye, bro, I’ll see you at the top. I’m coming.’”

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