Anthony Smith has fallen on some tough times competitively since he challenged Jon Jones for the UFC Light-Heavyweight title and he was riding a two fight losing-streak into his fight at UFC Vegas 15. His fight with Devin Clark was bumped up to main-event status in the very last few days leading up to the event as Curtis Blaydes contracted Coronavirus and was forced to withdraw from his fight with Francis Ngannou. Clark was coming into the fight after defeating two young Light-Heavyweights and had earned his first shot at a recognizable name in the sport, a fight that some fans thought he might be able to win given Smith’s recent performances.
Devin Clark has a background as an NJCAA wrestler but his years of training in MMA wasn’t enough to bridge the gap between his and Smith’s Jiu-Jitsu in the end. Anthony Smith is well-known as a strong BJJ black belt and has submitted plenty of opponents throughout his phenomenal fifty fight career, and he was able to get the fight where he needed to in order to have an advantage at UFC Vegas 15. Clark seemed to get the upper hand in the striking department by forcing Smith to the cage but double-underhooks allowed him to reverse the position relatively quickly.
From there, Smith managed to take the fight to the ground and quickly take Clark’s back. Clark escaped and turned into Smith’s full guard but he was able to transition to butterfly guard and maintain double-underhooks to control his opponent. From there it wasn’t long at all before Smith got the space to transition to a Triangle Choke and although Clark landed some strikes along the way, he tapped shortly after. This was a lifeline for Smith’s standing in the Light-Heavyweight division and should be enough to earn him another chance at a top 5 opponent, potentially reviving his title hopes one more time. A fight against another of Glover Teixiera’s recent victims, Thiago Santos, could prove to be the best option for Smith to build his way back there.