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UFC Singapore results: Anthony Smith survives nasty eye injury to gut out split decision win over Ryan Spann

UFC Fight Night: Smith v Spann Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Anthony Smith had to survive a nasty cut and swelling around his eye to gut out a split decision victory over Ryan Spann in the UFC Singapore co-main event.

Nothing came easy for the one-time UFC title challenger as Smith started strong on the feet but then got clipped with a shot that nearly blinded him in the second round. With his eye nearly shut from the damage done, Smith found a way to not only endure the onslaught from Spann but he continued coming back with a strong showing on the feet to close out the third round to secure the victory.

Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Smith with the third judge going 29-28 for Spann. That was still enough for Smith to get the win as he bounces back after suffering two losses in a row.

“It kind of blinded me for half the round,” Smith said about the eye injury he suffered in the second round. “I just had to regroup and make the decision that I’m not going anywhere.

“He’s good. Give it up for Ryan Spann. I know that you’re supposed to call somebody out, I just want to go home.”

It was a strong start from Smith, who set the pace early with powerful punches and a number of leg kicks that actually took Spann off his feet. Smith was also dominant on the ground during a grappling exchange, although Spann survived long enough to prevent a potential repeat from their first encounter when he suffered a submission loss.

The momentum changed in dramatic fashion in the second round when Spann uncorked a combination that ended with a left hook that cracked Smith in the eye. Smith immediately fell backwards before dropping the canvas with Spann rushing forward to try for the finish.

Smith displayed incredible heart to endure the punishment coming from Spann before eventually getting back to his feet where he wiped the blood from his eye with significant swelling growing underneath. With a chance to reset between rounds ­— and get some much needed treatment on his eye — Smith was able to recover enough to come out with a little more fire during the final five minutes.

While both fighters landed some stiff shots during the last round, Smith’s ability to continue chipping away at Spann with those leg kicks and seemingly connecting with the better, more accurate strikes on the feet made the difference. Nothing came easy but Smith did enough to get the while a dejected Spann was understandably frustrated after suffering a second loss to the 55-fight veteran.

Smith will now celebrate his first win since 2021 as he continues to serve as a threat to anybody and everybody in the light heavyweight division.

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