Fights To Watch Out For On UFC Fight Night: Smith VS. Spann

Ryan "Superman" Spann (19-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) finally earns himself a main event spot after a 1st round TKO over Misha Cirkunov back in March. Spann squares off against former UFC Light heavyweight title challenger and one of the most respected veterans in the sport today, Anthony "Lionheart" Smith (35-16 MMA, 10-6 UFC). After his loss dropping two straight with one of the worst beatings in recent memory done by the ageless wonder Glover Teixeira, Smith has rattled off 2 straight stoppage wins, including a victory over up and coming Aussie prospect Jimmy Crute. This matchup is vital to the rejuvenated UFC Light Heavyweight division with Jon Jones moving up to challenge for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, the new king of the throne, and his legendary Polish Power Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) is looking for his first title defense against the aforementioned Glover Teixeira (32-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC). A win for Smith would springboard him back into the top 5 and in line with another big fight that could potentially lead to his 2nd chance at UFC gold after losing to Jon Jones at UFC 235. However, for Spann, it would certify him as a rising contender after beating Smith and throws his name in the hat for a bigger fight for a spot in the top 5. Other fights on this card includes the return of the fighter that holds the most viral KO in the UFC and the most hated man in St. Louis according to James Krause, Joaquin "New Mansa" Buckley, two rising bantamweights Tony Gravely and Nate Maness come to blows on the mina card and one of the most exciting prospects from China as 24-year-old Zhu Rong squares off against UFC newcomer Brandon "The Human Highlight Reel" Jenkins. Most casual fans ignore these Fight Nights with the lack of star power on this card, but it is always the fight cards with low expectations to blow the roof off the place and leave finishes and fights to remember.

Montel Jackson V.S J.P Buys

"Quik“ is making a not so quick return after his first-round TKO of Jesse Strader back in March, and a 4-2 record in the UFC and fighting the level of competition such as Brett Johns and Brian Kelleher, Montel Jackson is a problem for anybody in the bantamweight division. After his original bout with Daana Batgerel fell through with Batgerel having visa issues, here comes J.P Buys (9-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) up a weight class to save the day on only 3 weeks notice. Jackson’s reach is his biggest asset with a massive 75.5” reach, and has bigger hands than current UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. After making his UFC debut against Ricky Simon on only 6 day’s notice for a Unanimous Decision loss, he amassed a 4-1 record and the only blemish to current Bellator bantamweight standout Brett Johns by a close Unanimous Decision. With his long arms and legs, Jackson has all the ability to pick apart his opponents from range but holds a solid all-around game with slick chokes on top and from his back. This is a tough night with the South African J.P “Young Savage” Buys with an 8.5” reach disadvantage and realistically needs to bring this fight to the ground with 5 of his 9 wins by submission. Buys, a 2-time alum on DWCS, his wife Cheyenne is also signed to a UFC contract and is coming off of a first-round TKO and performance of the night against Gloria De Paula so to quote; the poet John Keat “More happy, happy love.” With both of the Buys, they are as game as they come, and if J.P comes guns blazing and makes it a firefight on the inside and makes it a dirty fight, it favors Buys, but either way, this fight can go, it will be an exciting one with an exciting finish.

Zhu Rong V.S Brandon Jenkins

With Dakota Bush contacting Covid-19 and ruled him out of his bout against Zhu Rong, Brandon "The Human Highlight Reel" Jenkins comes in to face off against Rong on the prelims of the September 18th card. Zhu Rong (17-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is the youngest fighter on the UFC roster currently at the age of 21 years old and a boatload of experience as well as 5 round experience with it. He is looking to rebound after losing his UFC debut against Rodrigo Vargas and is looking to make his sophomore appearance is better than his first and is looking to add his 12th KO and 16th finish as well as his first win in the UFC. Jenkins holds a 15-7 record and has fought in many promotions such as KOTC, the LFA, and most recently, the PFL with a highlight 1st Round switch knee KO over former UFC fighter Jacob Kilburn. A relative unknown before his PFL bout, he isn't named "The Human Highlight Reel" for no reason, with 13 finishes in his 15 wins, including 10 KO/TKO's on his resume in his 8 year pro MMA career. Jenkins is a wild man when it comes to fights in the octagon, and Rong was a slow starter in his UFC debut, only throwing 39 total strikes in the first 2 rounds in his debut and throw over double the number of strikes with 66 thrown in the 3rd. Jenkin's gas tank will be questionable since it is a short notice fight, but Rong should have learned to throw with more volume, so the fight between these two lightweights have potential Fight Of The Night written all over it.

Nate Maness V.S Tony Gravely

Rattling off his first win streak inside the UFC, Tony Gravely (21-6 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is looking to make it three straight after his first stoppage win in the UFC against Anthony Birchak with a 2nd round TKO back in April. However, in his way is fellow rising featherweight Nate "Mayhem" Maness (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who is dropping down to bantamweight for this bout. With his only loss coming to former UFC fighter and one of the best unsigned talents coming out of France, Taylor Lapilus, he has gone 2-0 in the UFC and earned his first stoppage win in the promotion against recently retired fighter and former RFA bantamweight champion Luke Sanders back in November of 2020. After a 3rd round TKO win over Ray Rodriguez on Season 3 of DWCS, he went on to lose to Brett Johns in his first showing in the UFC via 3rd Round Submission, which earned Fight Of The Night honors and put him on the map as an exciting fighter to watch for in the upcoming years. Maness had a different path to the UFC; after beating Jesse Arnett for the vacant TKO bantamweight championship (former TKO champion Ciryl Gane signed to the UFC and who says French talent is not meant for the UFC?), he went on to lose the belt to Lapilus and fight once more, a 1st Round KO/TKO over Kellen VanCamp, before earning himself a UFC contract to face off against Ray Borg who of course pulled out and was replaced by Johnny Munoz Jr. and ruined the coming-out party for Maness's debut and winning by Unanimous Decision. This matchup on the main card is two fighters hitting their primes and are good everywhere seen in their UFC fights so far, so when Gravely and Maness put on fireworks on the ground and on the feet, they will start the rise to being a household name in the UFC.

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