Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith went on firmly on his shield last night in his brutal UFC Fight Night Jacksonville headliner against Glover Teixeira.
After a hugely polished start in the opening round which included slick boxing combinations, and creative striking – Smith began to falter early in the second frame. The #4 ranked contender was dropped by the technical boxing of Teixeira and began to wilt from the third round onward. In the penultimate round, a comfortable 10-8 for the 40-year-old Brazilian, Smith flat on his stomach against the fence, handed teeth to referee Jason Herzog. Somehow allowed to see the fifth and final round, Teixeira established mount on Smith and finished with ground-and-pound.
Over almost twenty-five minutes, Smith absorbed some absolutely brutal punishment – explaining to James Krause and Marc Montoya in his corner, how “(his) my teeth are falling out“. The Nebraska native spoke with ESPN reporter, Ariel Helwani, revealing he had sustained a broken nose, a broken orbital, and lost two of his teeth during the battering.
Smith explained how the missing tooth affected his ability to keep his mouthpiece in during the fourth and fifth round.
“I couldn’t keep my mouthpiece in place due to the missing tooth. I looked down and it was on the canvas. So I grabbed it and handed it (Jason Herzog) to him.“
Smith, has managed victories over former champions, Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua, as well as former title challengers Volkan Oezdemir, and Alexander Gustafsson since his move to 205-pounds in June of 2018. Last night’s loss to Teixeira marked just his second defeat at light heavyweight, following a championship defeat to Jon Jones in March of last year.
40-year-old boxer, Teixeira may be a single victory away from a rematch with the aforementioned Jones, the second title tilt of his promotional stint. The Minas Gerais native has now won his last four, scoring wins over Karl Roberson, Ion Cuțelaba, Nikita Krylov and Smith. At last night’s post-fight press conference, promotional president, Dana White floated the idea of a title-eliminator bout between Teixeira and Dominick Reyes – with the possibility of Jones meeting Jan Błachowicz in his next light heavyweight title defence.