Ranked light heavyweight fighters Anthony Smith and Magomed Ankalaev will clash on the UFC 277 main card in Dallas, Texas, this weekend. UFC 277 is a pay-per-view event and will stream exclusively on ESPN+.
Ankalaev is a fast-rising light heavyweight contender who has managed an impressive streak of victories in the UFC since joining in 2018. He’s now on a eight-fight win streak with recent wins against Thiago Santos, Volkan Oezdemir, Nikita Krylov, and Ion Cutelaba.
Smith has returned to form following consecutive defeats to Aleksander Rakic and Glover Teixeira in 2020. He’s since defeated Ryan Spann, Jimmy Crute, and Devin Clark, all by way of stoppage.
Speaking with James Lynch before his upcoming fight with Ankalaev, Smith described his opponent as a talented, well-rounded fighter.
“He’s fantastic,” Smith said. “He’s a tough dude. He walks forward. He’s very simple, he doesn’t do a lot of things. He’s not like the crazy busy guy, he’s not super high output — at least historically, that could change on Saturday, who knows.
“He doesn’t do a lot, so it doesn’t leave a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. He stays within his wheelhouse, it’s hard to get him outside of his box. He’s fundamentally sound, he’s never really out of position. He’s solid all the way around, there’s no glaring hole in his game.
“It’s fun [to be in a three-round fight]. It’s the second non-main event fight for me in my last ten [fights]. I’m excited about that, especially at 205 pounds. We’re not featherweights or bantamweights, those guys can put their foot on the gas, and they can grind or sprint for 25 minutes. At 205 pounds, you have to remember my heart and lungs are the same size as those guys’. It’s not like I get any more at the heavier divisions. We have to pace ourselves more. We can’t fight at that pace. But at three fights, I can sprint for three rounds.”
Watch UFC 277 Fight Card
- Date: Saturday, July 30
- Time: PPV Main Card starts at 10 pm ET, Prelims start at 6 pm ET
ESPN+ PPV (order here)
UFC 277 is a PPV event, and that means fans must order UFC 277 on the ESPN+ website to watch every main card fight live, including Smith vs. Ankalaev. After ordering, fans can then stream every UFC 277 fight to a preferred device, including TVs, mobiles, computers, laptops, tablets, and more.
Smith vs. Ankalaev predictions
UFC fighters also shared their predictions for Anthony Smith vs. Magomed Ankalaev before the fight takes place on the UFC 277 main card. Here’s what they said:
“Man, Smith is good at winning fights when he needs to. But Ankalaev, he’s good. My coach Matt and I talk about him all the time. That dude’s a beast. It’s crazy that Paul Craig’s hail mary triangle has aged so well against him. I gotta go with Ankalaev. I like Smith, I’ll be rooting for the American…” (via James Lynch)
“I think Anthony Smith is going to come back. I think he’s got it. I think it’ll be a war or a hard first couple of rounds, but then he’ll come back and win the fight.” (via James Lynch)
“Ankalaev. Ankalaev is a savage. Anthony Smith is great, but I think he plays jiu-jitsu a bit too much, and I just like Ankalaev there.” (via James Lynch)
“I do like Ankalaev. I like his style a lot. I think he’ll be the champ eventually, but as long as Jiri is there, I think Ankalaev will get it done, but yeah…” (via James Lynch)
“Everybody will think about Ankalaev and think he will be better. I see him and see him as a very good guy with a good style, but in this case, I think Anthony Smith he’s not like Ankalaev’s last opponents – so I don’t have a favorite in this case.” (via James Lynch)
“I think it’s a very tough fight for both guys. I gotta go with Anthony; he’s a friend of mine and a former training partner of mine. I’m going to take Anthony.” (via James Lynch)
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.