UFC Fight Night 171: Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira

The main event of UFC Fight Night 171 from Jacksonville is a fight that I’ve actually wanted to see for years.

These two fighters match up so well.

Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira have the same winning percentage in the UFC at 72%.

Glover, who made his Octagon debut in May of 2012, has been with the company twice as long as “Lionheart” who got his first opportunity to fight in the big leagues in ‘16.

8-3 and 13-5, respectively.

This is very good, especially for the UFC’s most dangerous division.

Yes, I said it.

But what about heavyweight, you ask?

Don’t they hit harder?

That is an argument that goes back to the days of the gladiators.

I have heard many boxing coaches say that cruiserweights hit harder than heavyweights because they are faster.

There are two main components of punching power.

One is simply, speed, and the other is how much weight you have behind your shots.

Timing is very important as well but it doesn’t pertain to this example.

The heavyweights, of course, have more weight behind them but the light heavy guys are clearly faster.

Here’s the difference. Speed kills.

That’s a whole nother conversation but evading, redirecting, or covering a fast punch is a lot more dangerous than a slow one.

That’s my thesis on why the light heavyweight division is more dangerous than the heavyweight.

I’m sure you could show me knockout numbers that slightly disagree but let’s move on to the main event of Wednesday night’s UFC card from Jacksonville, Florida.

BetOnline.AG and Sportbet.com both have some good lines for this fight.

Let’s break ‘em down and make our prediction for Anthony Smith vs Glover Teixeira.

Anthony Smith (-177) vs Glover Teixeira (+161)

These are unusually close betting odds between the two.

Normally a (-177) favorite would denote roughly a (+141) underdog.

This was the best line I could find on Smith as well as Teixeira as well.

Sportbet.com has had some nice lines lately.

The glaring difference in the tale of the tape for these two savages is age.

Anthony is 31 and Glover is 40.

Okay, 1 point for the favorite. That one definitely counts.

Anthony has been taken down 16 times in his 11 fights with the UFC.

That concerns me.

He has submitted two of the men who took him down, though, Volkan Oezdemir and most recently Alexander Gustaffson.

These two men, at the end of the day, are European strikers.

Glover Teixeira is Brazilian and has some of the best wrestling we have ever seen from a Brazilian MMA fighter.

He may be fading a little quicker in that area than once thought, though.

He is just 2-20 on takedown attempts over the past 2 years.

The wrestling may cancel out. I do think Glover will be able to push Smith back if he wants. He has one of the best centers of gravity I have ever seen in an MMA fighter.

There is a dark side to that strong base.

He has slow lateral movement and that is an area where Anthony Smith excels.

“Lionheart” may have to win by being the matador but I think he can do it.

Is it worth the juice, though?

I was pleased to find the (-177) odds but I don’t think I would cap him at (-227) which would give us a 5% edge on the sportsbook.

I would cap Anthony around (-145). So, yeah, I think he’s going to win but we have no edge on the bookmakers.

We do have about a 4-5% edge on the Glover Teixeira betting odds.

Power is the last thing to go on an aging fighter.

Anthony will have an inch in height on the Brazilian but the reach is “virtually identical”.

Shoutout to Mike Goldberg.

We miss you, bro.

I think DC, Dom, and Jon Anik do a great job. It is very nice to have present-day world champions commentating for an MMA fight.

The chemistry is off, though, bigtime.

Every week, it’s a different combination of commentators.

Joe Rogan, as much as I love his podcast, has been picking favorites early in fights and slightly out of touch with his assessments of the action.

Take the Michele Waterson vs Carla Esparza matchup from this past Saturday’s UFC 249 card, for example.

As uneventful as it was, the entire commentary team managed to ignore 80% of the strikes Carla Esparza was landing.

I think the UFC will find their sweet spot with the commentators but, in my opinion, less is more.

Back to the fight.

I like the edge we are getting with Teixeira but as a general rule of thumb, we should avoid betting on fighters 40 and older.

Everyone seems to be high on Smith so maybe I’m missing something.

He hasn’t dominated a top ten fighter, ever.

Yes, he beat Volkan Oezdemir and Alexander Gustafsson since his move up to light heavyweight.

He was losing both of those fights, though.

Gustafsson absolutely did not show up and strangely retired in the Octagon after the loss, and Oezdemir was out-landing him on the feet nearly 2 to 1.

Smith lost to Jon Jones and Thiago Santos as virtually everyone does.

Who else has he beaten?

Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua?

Two legends, no doubt, but both significantly past their prime.

One thing I can say for Anthony is that he has gotten better as a fighter every time he steps in there and his record clearly shows that.

Another compliment is that he has earned the nickname of “Lionheart” several times over.

He has come back and won a lot of fights against high-level competition.

His mental strength was shut down in the Jon Jones fight but other than that, he is always dangerous.

I just can’t pull the trigger on the old man.

No disrespect, Glover.

I’m only 2 short years behind you.

Sure, both of these guys finish fights but this one is the main event and scheduled for a possible 25 minutes but I think the over might be the play.

Both are skillful strikers and I think Glover will invest in some clinch time pressing his opponent against the cage if he can.

Anthony Johnson is the only man to stop Glover early in the fight with strikes in his UFC career.

The only UFC fighter to do that to Anthony Smith was Thiago Santos.

These may be the two scariest men of the past decade in the UFC not named Francis Ngannou.

I do not think we will see a submission from either guy and I would be surprised if the fight hits the mat.

That means two skillful guys hopefully not landing clean until the halfway point and one or two of them investing in the wall n’ stall.

The over 2.5 rounds is (+105) at sportbet.com.

I give this fight about a 70% chance to go get to the 12:30 mark.

Neither fighter lands more than 3.5 significant strikes per minute.

We have our best edge over the sportsbooks with this bet.

My Pick
Over 2.5 Rounds

In Conclusion

Wednesday’s main event should be an exciting one but let’s just hope it doesn’t get to be too much fun too quickly.

When you look at how quickly Anthony Smith has been putting guys away lately, you have to think there’s a decent chance he clips Glover and goes in for the kill within the first 10 or 12 minutes.

How many times have you seen that happen to Glover, though?

This is his first fight at 40 years of age, though.

Anthony Smith has shown that he can dispatch aging stars quickly with his wins over Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua.

Glover Teixeira has won 3 in a row, though, over younger competition.

Smith might come out ahead in a cardio battle later in the fight but I think these two intelligent experienced fighters play chess and not checkers on Wednesday night.

Tune in, turn up, and bet hard!

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.