The UFC returns to the Apex Centre in Vegas for another stacked UFC Fight Night event. Two of the UFC’s top-ranked light heavyweights will square off in the main event. Read on for our complete betting guide taking a first look at Anthony “Lionheart” Smith and Ryan “Superman” Spann, including updated odds and our free expert UFC betting predictions.
Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann
UFC Light Heavyweight Main Event Bout
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at the UFC Apex Center
Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (35-16-0)
As a young up and comer in the legendary Strikeforce fight promotion, Anthony Smith has garnered some of the most valuable fight experience throughout his professional MMA career. Owning first-round stoppage victories over former champions Mauricio Rua and Rashad Evans on top of significant achievements against Volkan Oezdemir, Alexander Gustafsson, Devin Clark, and Jimmy Crute - Smith has written himself into the UFC history books aged just thirty-three.
A lack of cardio heading into the championship rounds had seemed to be a problem for Smith, as witnessed when he faced Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira. With that said, Smith has looked to be in the fighting prime of his life with back-to-back stoppage wins against young and dangerous opponents.
The implications of next Saturday’s main event could elevate the winner into a number one contender fight, the veteran in Smith shouldn’t be fazed, but can his opponent say the same?
Anthony Smith MMA Accomplishments
- UFC Fight of the Night (One time)
- UFC Performance of the Night (Five times)
- Cage Fury Middleweight Champion (One time)
- Victory FC Middleweight Champion (One time)
Ryan Spann (19-6-0)
Memphis, Tennessee native Ryan Spann has made a huge impact within a short period of time since joining the UFC roster. As a Dana White’s Contender Series alumni - nobody could’ve predicted that he would finish MMA legends Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Misha Cirkunov inside the first round.
Spann is a striker at heart, but his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt has proven its worth as he owns seven guillotine chokes on his professional record.
Now, riding a 5-1 record since his promotional debut in 2019, #13 ranked Spann is ready to tackle the top-10 fighters of the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division.
Ryan Spann MMA Accomplishments
- UFC Performance of the Night (One time)
- LFA Light Heavyweight Champion (One time)
- Hero FC Middleweight Champion (One time)
Best Available Odds: +156 with BetOnline
How Can Smith Win?
Anthony has prevailed with his long reach; whether he’s clinching or striking at range, he’s faired very well with his striking arsenal. The problem he’ll face against Spann is the power combinations inside the pocket.
Much like his opponent, Smith can switch his stance comfortably, and again, like his opponent, he possesses a dangerous level of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
I’d coach Smith into clinching with his opponent, grinding some fence work to an eventual takedown. Smith will test his striking ability against Spann, but if you want to play into the game plan of Spann, a fist fight should be avoided.
How Can Spann Win?
Fortunately for Spann, he did a great job of avoiding the clinch battle with Mischa Cirkunov during his previous bout. This bodes well for an opponent in Smith, who’ll likely prevail in taking this fight to the ground.
Spann has the power to put Smith’s lights out; precise timing behind some dangerous 1-2 combinations could be a basic approach, but should Smith give Spann an inch – he’ll take a mile.
Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann Betting Picks
The available odds at Sportsbook Review opened with Smith as the -160 favorite, little money has come in on Smith, and the line is heading in the correct direction.
The striking experience of Smith shouldn’t fall victim to the power of Spann, and perhaps an outside single-leg takedown could be the perfect takedown approach for Smith as he’ll want to avoid Spann’s neck-crushing guillotine choke.
I anticipate that Anthony Smith can outsmart his opponent this weekend, but both men will want to pace themselves as cardiovascular hasn’t been their most favorable attribute.
UFC in Vegas 37 Pick: Anthony Smith to win (-181) with BetOnline [1.81u to win 1u]
*The pick reflects the line now the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, do not forget to refer to our live odds.