UFC Moncton: Smith submits Oezdemir to surge into title contention

Anthony Smith made a huge impression on the Light Heavyweight division on Saturday, but Irish eyes weren’t smiling on Artem Lobov…


In our UFC Moncton preview feature, we said the night’s main event bout would either be won by Volkan Oezdemir early on, or by Anthony Smith later in the contest.

After “Lionheart” managed to drag the fight into the third round, it was Smith who took the win against the tiring Swiss fighter.

If you took the 17/1 we highlighted for Smith to win by submission, the drinks are on you, as that’s exactly how it played out, with Smith taking Oezdemir to the mat and locking up a rear-naked choke to secure his third straight win as a UFC light-heavyweight.

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The win puts Smith right in the conversation for a shot at the UFC light-heavyweight title, which is currently in the possession of a certain Daniel Cormier.

But, if everything plays out as expected before the end of the year, it’ll soon be leaving “DC’s” waist and heading to either Jon Jones or Alexander Gustafsson.

Regardless of who wins that title, Smith wants the next shot in 2019.

“I’ve been fighting since I was 17 years old,” he told Dan Hardy in his post-fight interview.

“I’ve been chasing this dream, my career’s been up and down. I’ve just gone through so much adversity, and all I wanted was to stand here in this octagon after a win and feel comfortable enough to ask Dana White, Hunter Campbell and Mick Maynard one question: ‘My name’s Anthony Smith, and I want a title shot!'”

After that performance, he’d certainly deserve it. But don’t be surprised if he’s told to go and beat fellow contender Jan Blachowicz in early 2019 first.

The Menace wants to head Down Under

The co-main event between Michael “The Menace” Johnson and “The Russian Hammer” Artem Lobov delivered a fun three-round scrap for the fans in Moncton, as Johnson outpointed Lobov to earn a unanimous decision win.

Johnson did the UFC a big favour by stepping in at just one week’s notice and dropping 30lbs to face Lobov, and now he’s hoping they can return the favour and put him back in the octagon after a quick turnaround.

And he knows where he wants to fight, at UFC Fight Night in Adelaide, Australia on December 1.

Introducing Cirkunov 2.0

Canadian light-heavyweight contender Misha Cirkunov needed a big win in Moncton after back-to-back losses, and he got one in some style, as he submitted American Patrick Cummins by first-round arm-triangle choke to announce his return to form.

Cirkunov has gone back to the drawing board following first-round stoppage defeats to Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira. But now what he describes as the “2.0 version” of himself is ready to wreak havoc on the 205lb division.

If he can replicate the sort of display he showed against Cummins, he might just be a threat to the division’s top guns.

Sign them up, Dana

Both Sean Strickland and Calvin Kattar were effectively fighting for their UFC futures in Moncton, with both men taking part in the final fights on their respective contracts.

And both men scored impressive stoppage wins, with Strickland finishing Nordine Taleb and Kattar stopping British debutant Chris Fishgold.

After performances like those, it only seems fair to give them another shot in the octagon.

“Magic Man” lives up to his billing

Undoubtedly the knockout of the night came early on during the UFC Fight Pass prelims, when South African debutant Don “Magic Man” Madge produced this stunning head-kick KO of fellow debutant Te Edwards in their lightweight contest.

Both men arrived in the UFC with reputations as knockout artists, and they went straight at each other from the very start.

But it was Madge who had the upper hand throughout, dropping Edwards early on and threatening with a succession of submission attempts on the mat, including one nasty-looking armbar attempt.

But even though he missed out on an eye-catching submission victory, he eventually got something even better, a highlight-reel knockout as his thumping right kick found its mark in the second round of their all-action contest.

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