An ESPN panel made up of Brett Okamoto, Mark Raymondi and Jeff Wagenheim details the biggest stories released from the UFC Fight Night on Saturday, including what’s next for Anthony Smith after his first-round win over Devin Clark. The battle was a major alternate event after the Battle of Curtis Blades and Derek Lewis was canceled.
Wagenheim: Three rounds? Five rounds? Anthony Smith may also have called the alternate main event being the 12th Saturday Night Cycle. By finishing introducing after just two minutes, and 34 seconds of his fight with Devin Clark, Smith is not called to test his stamina – unless you consider the guy’s stamina in his 50 professional fight.
Just last year, Smith was challenging John Jones for the Light Heavyweight title. He lost that night, and began a series of three losses in four fights. The UFC is still ranked sixth in some way, but it is out of the ESPN and other rankings. At age 32, was he fading?
Smith had an answer to that, which he provided not only with his performance but with spoken words – no, heckled – while he was still inside the octagon. As he wandered around right after his victory, Smith shouted at anyone who might listen, “I’m not going anywhere, mom …!” Well, as Muhammad Ali once said, “It is not to be bragging if this is true.”
Saturday night, Smith looked like a fighter who was going nowhere but up. It wasn’t simply that he found his way back into the winning column, although that in and of itself would definitely make his trip home in Omaha, Nebraska, a much more enjoyable one. But see how he got his W. He started by dumping a former national wrestler in junior college. Then, when his first attempt at surrender was rejected and Clark reversed his attitude toward him, Smith was no less disappointed. It just closed a triangle-shaped throttle from below to get close early to the scheduled five-throttle.
Anthony wasn’t lying when he said he’d show there are levels to this
– Belal Muhammad (@ bullyb170) November 29, 2020
It was Smith’s first victory in over a year, but he showed once again that when he wins, he does so with enthusiasm. His past eight victories, dating back to 2016, have ended. next one?
It’s hard to say who will Smith in the cage next. He refused to conduct a specific callout, saying his plan is to slowly rebuild upward. Many members of the 10th summit have already fought. Could it be Nikita Krylov? This is the voice of truth. To do the UFC strong this weekend, I suspect Smith will get a reservation that he can build on. And for his performance on Saturday, he deserves it.
The only fighter from this card to keep going is Miguel Baeza
ESPN MMA (espnmma) November 29, 2020
Okamoto: No one blew me more than Baeza on Saturday, or all week for that matter. He made a strong start in the UFC. It is 3–0 with three finals, including knockout Matt Brown in May. His talent is on his feet evident, but he showed us a new wrinkle in this, marking his first victory of his career.
The 28-year-old is undefeated, and even though he has only fought 10 fights under his belt, he looks seasoned beyond his years. Saturday’s win was very impressive, against an opponent with more than double the number of professional matches.
Baeza – not exactly necessary in combat sports – has charisma. UFC lightweight commentator Paul Felder called “Mr. Fielder” all week. He shared an adorable story about an unlicensed amateur fight against welterweight Ultimate Fighting Championship Niko Price years ago. He encouraged me with a story about how he got his nickname “Caramel of Thunder” – a long short story, which he believes his friend cheated on by introducing him to an announcer on the ring during his career. I don’t know how far Baeza will end up, but he has a lot of potential.
The best end of the night was Gina Mazane
ESPN MMA (espnmma) November 29, 2020
Raymondi: Liver kick knockouts are rare enough in the UFC. Don’t bother with the front kicks of the liver that lead to the end. But that’s exactly what Mazani did to Rachel Ustovich on Saturday night. She took a stuttering move forward and hit a left-front kick at Ostovich’s body, causing her to crash. Referee Mark Smith was forced to jump to stop the fight. Mazani hit the same kick earlier in that round, which hit Ustovi. It doubled, but Ustovi survived the shot. She couldn’t do it again.
So proud of Jenna !!! So glad she is a part of Glory fam now and all her hard work is paying off !! # UFCVegas15
Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) November 29, 2020
The kick wasn’t a thing for Mazany’s signature reel. This led to her first UFC win in three years and she will likely avoid the second edition of the promo. For Danger, he was about something much bigger: her hard work was paying off. Mazzani moved from Las Vegas to Missouri this year with her fiancé Tim Elliott, a flyweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. There, she began training under coach (and UFC fighter) James Krause and reshaped her body from a bantam to flying weight. The big changes resulted in massive success and possibly a run in a new division.