Ankalaev stayed patient in the opening minutes of the fight against Smith, landing some heavy leg kicks that limped Smith after the first round. The two light heavyweight contenders threw punches in bunches to begin the second round before Smith attempted a takedown on the fence.
Ankalaev was able to get top position off of Smith’s takedown attempt and land heavy ground-and-pound strikes. As Smith struggled to defend himself and appears to deal with a leg injury, the referee stepped in and stopped the action.
MMA Twitter Speaks Out On Magomed Ankalaev Vs. Anthony Smith
Here’s what UFC fighters had to say about Ankalaev’s TKO win over Smith.
Ankalaev has now won nine in a row in the UFC since a loss to Paul Craig in 2018. Entering UFC 277, he earned unanimous decision wins over the likes of former title challengers Thiago Santos and Volkan Oezdemir.
Smith came into the fight riding high off of three straight victories, including finishes over Ryan Spann and Devin Clark. He challenged for the light heavyweight title against Jon Jones at UFC 235.
At the worst, Ankalaev may be one win away from a potential light heavyweight title shot but could get the next shot at Jiří Procházka if the UFC opts to go in that direction.
Did Magomed Ankalaev deserve a title shot with his win at UFC 277?