Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith Has Climbed to the Top of the Pile With a Brilliant Submission Win Over Volkan Oezdemir…

What a year it’s been for Anthony Smith. After starting off 2018 with a tepid round 2 body kick KO loss to Thiago Santos in the middleweight division, ‘Lionheart’ moved up in weight and has looked magnificent ever since. He’s defeated two legends of the game in Rashad Evans and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and now has added Volkan Oezdemir’s scalp to his trophy cabinet.

This was a huge fight for both men. Oezdemir was coming off the back of a title fight loss to Daniel Cormier and desperately needed to win to keep in touch with the top of the division. Meanwhile, Smith knew that victory would put him within a fight of the title – or even possibly earn him the next shot.

It worked out in ‘Lionheart’s’ favour, as he showed skill and determination to grind out a submission victory in an impressive performance. Watch the finish below.

Great Fight

This was actually a very good fight. Oezdemir started well and savaged Smith with leg kicks throughout the three rounds of action in their main event in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Smith had said that he knew he had to outlast Oezdemir who is famous for his devastating finishing power.

He was absolutely right, because ‘No Time’ went for it, rattling Smith a number of times. Smith was able to hold out, and Oezdemir tired out, allowing ‘Lionheart’ to step up his game. He was able to get him down in the third round and earn a submission win by rear-naked choke in an excellent tactical performance by the Nebraska native.

Big Win

This was a huge win for Smith who immediately did the right thing and called for a title shot. Of course, he’ll have to get in line because the next fight will be between Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones. Things could get messy if Jones wins, because he may move up to heavyweight and take on Daniel Cormier. There’s a lot of possibilities there. Anyway, Smith’s first words on the microphone were:

“My name is Anthony Smith and I want a title shot!”

Do you think he’s done enough to earn it?


‘Lionheart’ has justifiably received a mixed response from fight fans since moving up in weight. Yes, he’s beaten two legends, but realistically both Evans and ‘Shogun’ are way past their best right now. Oezdemir is a genuine top-five fighter right now – albeit in one of the UFC’s thinnest divisions. Smith said before the fight:

“As long as I get to a title shot I don’t care what people say. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s kind of been the narrative my whole career. It’s not about how good I am. It’s always been about how bad my opponents are. That’s the narrative I used to try to change all the time, and now I don’t care. As long as I’m opposite whoever wins the Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson fight, I don’t care.”

Realistically one more fight against the likes of Jimi Manuwa or even Luke Rockhold might be what it takes to earn that elusive shot. Especially if the division gets put on hold with the whole DC/Jones scenario. Smith will have his fingers crossed that it will be third time lucky for Alexander Gustafsson as seeks to win the title. That’s the clearest path for ‘Lionheart’.

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