UFC Fight Night 192 takes place this Saturday, September 18, at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the main event will feature light heavyweight fighters Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann.
Smith is currently ranked #6 in the division after back-to-back wins against Devin Clark and Jimmy Crute. Spann has won five of his six first bouts in the UFC and is now ranked #6 at light heavyweight after his most recent victory against Misha Cirkunov in March.
Smith vs. Spann and the entire UFC Fight Night 192 event will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 7:00 pm ET.
Smith vs. Spann betting odds
Anthony Smith is favored to win this weekend’s UFC main event bout at odds of -170.
Smith vs. Spann predictions
This matchup includes a great gap in experience with Anthony Smith’s 51-fight record over doubling Ryan Spann’s 25. That being said, stylistically this is a very interesting matchup as they clash in multiple areas.
Anthony Smith excels at poking and prodding with very technical striking from the outside. He fights behind a very well-educated jab and good body kicks including a stabbing front kick down the middle. He is an intelligent martial artist but also has the mentality of a real fighter behind it, and when he feels the moment he will go for the finish with full effort. Behind his long rangy boxing, watch for Smith to step in and commit to hard elbows off the punches or double up and look for a heavy cross.
Spann is likewise a patient and smart striker, but the difference is in power. Smith has a stiff jab that can wobble about anyone, and when he commits to his power strikes they can also spell the end. However with Spann, what may look like a nonchalant jab or a quick straight in an exchange can be the one-punch KO highlight he’s looking for, KO power is much more innate in Spann’s style.
However, because of this, where Lionheart steps in and commits his hips to a heavy elbow or punch when he feels the finish is close, Spann more often overextends looking for the one big overhand to end it all. He comes in on a straight line, so look for Smith to utilize angles in order to frustrate Spann when he feels momentum.
Spann’s best work however is definitely his grappling, he is a great submission wrestler with good position control. Although just a blue belt compared to Smith’s black in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Spann’s wrestling games allows him to control well from the top and stay safe while searching for submissions, of which he has eleven.
Smith’s game is much more straight Jiu Jitsu based on the ground, and although he has good wrestling, he is also comfortable playing guard and looking for back transitions and triangles from defensive position rather than forcing position.
Ultimately I think that Smith has the well-rounded ground game to negate Spann’s usual success, and his ability to prod and poke his way on the feet with his jab will lead to a frustrated Spann over five rounds. Smith will capitalize late
Prediction: Anthony Smith by late stoppage
“Lionheart” vs “Superman” sounds like an old-school comic book battle. Similar to those fictional fights, Smith vs. Spann should have a lot of back and forth, close calls, and will likely end with one man landing an onomatopoeic shot – bam!
A fan favorite for his story and his style, “Lionheart” Smith often provides exciting fights. He tends to open the bout off extending his solid jab forward to keep his opponents at bay. He is adept at cutting angles off his jab to land big power shots. Of his 35 wins, 19 have come by knockout. Once the fight turns into a pocket boxing match, Smith does rely on his lion-like heart to survive some close calls. He has a negative strike differential and has been knocked out 9 times. Additionally, he is susceptible to takedowns, only stuffing 47% of them, his cardio issues have plagued him more as he’s aged; and, has been submitted four times. So, the logical strategy would seem that if someone can take him down, they can exhaust or submit him. But, again, Smith’s will is his superpower. Even despite his poor defensive ground game and questionable gas tank, he has recently shown his slick submissions are still a threat. 13 of his 35 wins have come by submission. On the feet or mat, Smith has defensive gaps; but, his fight IQ, sheer will, and finishing ability allow him to stay in a fight until the last second.
“Superman” Spann can get into some back and forth battles himself. He is a powerful and crafty striker who lulls fighters to sleep with his slow approach. Then, suddenly, he’ll land a flash check hook, and significantly hurt his opponent. His strike differential is neutral but when he lets his hands go, they explode with power. Spann is also a gritty grappler with slick submissions of his own. Of his 19 wins, 5 have come by knockout and 11 by submission. Spann’s main obstacle is he leaves his chin high in the air, primed to get clipped. “Superman” has been knocked out three times. Similarly to Smith, Spann’s high chin and counter striking style results in some fun back and forth fights.
I know it’s cliché to say at this point; but, Smith’s ability to come from behind and sneak out a win is a variable to consider. I don’t trust him to outstrike anyone on the feet, his takedown defense is porous, and his submission game is threatening but less reliable as his cardio depletes. If Spann can tuck his chin, avoid Smith’s power, and be the one moving forward, he should have everything he needs to win. But, Smith has seen that strategy before, come out victorious against worse odds, and is the favorite in this fight. However, I am still sticking with the guy who I think has more advantages – Spann. While I’m picking Spann to win, I also like under 2.5 rounds.
Prediction: Spann to win inside the distance
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.