UFC Fight Night 153 Results: The Real Winners and LosersJune 1, 2019
UFC Fight Night 153 Results: The Real Winners and Losers
When they touched gloves Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 153, light heavyweights Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith had one big thing in common: Their careers had both been shaped in large part by the MMA GOAT.
Jon Jones got all he could handle against Gustafsson in 2013. Jones went on to squeak out a decision, but to this day, plenty of fans believe it was the champ's toughest test to date (inside a cage, anyway).
Just three months ago, Smith surprised observers by taking Jones the distance. This time it was a pretty lopsided decision, but given that Smith was a massive underdog in the bout, his ability to survive cemented him as one of the promotion's toughest competitors.
The evening's main event, which went down from Stockholm, determined who would stay perched atop the light heavyweight ladder. But it was far from the only bit of intrigue on the 12-fight card. As always, the final stat lines don't reveal all. These are the real winners and losers from UFC Fight Night 153.
Winner: Anthony Smith
It's time to put some respect on Anthony Smith's name.
With all due respect to Bryan Barberena and a few others, who's a tougher customer in the UFC right now than Smith? After a back-and-forth battle in hostile territory, Smith capitalized on a late scramble to submit Gustafsson by rear-naked choke in the fourth round.
Gustafsson used rangy jabs and kicks to the lower body to sting Smith in the earlier rounds, but Smith gave as good as he got, getting into range and firing off big right hands.
In the first of the championship rounds, a Gustafsson hip toss went begging, and Smith took advantage. He took the Swede's back, flattened him out and locked on the choke.
Smith has won four of five since moving up to light heavyweight almost exactly one year ago, with his only loss coming to Jones. That's pretty good.
Still, people still seem to view him as a scrapper and nothing else. He is that to be certain, but he's also a smart and skilled competitor who's dangerous in any phase. This is true even if he defeated a version of Gustafsson that may no longer be at full strength. Speaking of which...
Winner? Alexander Gustafsson
"The show is over, guys."
That's what Gustafsson told his assembled compatriots as he removed his gloves and dropped them to the canvas—a pretty universal sign that a fighter has competed on that stage for the final time.
Gustafsson confirmed those suspicions with a post-fight statement the UFC issued to reporters.
"It feels like I'm getting old. We all have to realize that it's the end of the story," he said. "I never did this for the money or anything like that... I did it because I want to be the best and if I can't be the best then it is what it is. Now, I'll focus on my kids, I own a gym and have a couple of other projects going on... Let's see what's next. I built the life that I wanted, so let's see what is the next chapter."
The 32-year-old departs the game with an 18-6 pro record and some memorable performances against the likes of Shogun Rua, Daniel Cormier and Glover Teixeira, in addition to Jones.
It was a good career, but was it great? Hard to tell. He got a lot of mileage out of the first Jones fight, and that was a loss (he also lost the rematch). The fight against Smith was only his fourth in the past four years, thanks in part to a litany of injuries. He was 2-4 in his final six contests.
Before his bout with Jones, Gustafsson was considered a solid competitor but nothing special. His performance against Jones was special indeed, but sustained excellence never materialized.
Still, Gustafsson was a talented and charismatic fighter who meant a lot to the sport in Sweden, Europe and beyond. Happy trails, Alex.
Loser: Jimi Manuwa's Dome
In his most high-profile spot to date, Aleksandar Rakic made it a perfect four-of-four in the UFC with a thunderous head-kick knockout of Jimi Manuwa. It only took 42 seconds.
It was the second consecutive knockout win for Rakic, who is now turning heads in earnest in the suddenly electrified light heavyweight division.
Meanwhile, you have to feel bad for Manuwa, who remained on the canvas for some moments after the massive knockout shot. The Brit is known as a slugger, with 15 knockouts to his name, but has now lost four straight, three of them by KO.
Loser: Tonya Evinger
In 2017, Tonya Evinger vacated her Invicta bantamweight belt to join the UFC. With a funny, outspoken demeanor and a reputation for blue-collar toughness, she seemed a surefire addition to the UFC roster.
Sure, she was mainly there to face Cris Cyborg, but a bright future seemed a decent bet beyond that. Turns out it wasn't, at least not to date. Her loss Saturday to Lina Lansberg left her winless in the UFC after three tries.
Lansberg, who moved to 3-3 in the UFC after the win, pounded away on a fairly docile Evinger to take a lopsided decision that included two 30-26 judging scorecards. At 37, the Swede may have more fights left in her. Evinger is the same age but looks like she may be out of steam.
UFC Fight Night 153 Full Card Results
Anthony Smith def. Alexander Gustafsson by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:38, Rd. 4
Aleksandar Rakic def. Jimi Manuwa by KO, 0:42, Rd. 1
Makwan Amirkhani def. Chris Fishgold by submission (anaconda choke), 4:25, Rd. 2
Christos Giagos def. Damir Hadzovic by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
Daniel Teymur def. Sung Bin Jo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sergey Khandozhko def. Rostem Akman by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Lina Lansberg def. Tonya Evinger by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Leonardo Santos def. Stevie Ray by KO, 2:17, Rd. 1
Frank Camacho def. Nick Hein by TKO, 4:56, Rd. 2
Bea Malecki def. Duda Santana by submission (rear-naked choke), 1:59, Rd. 2
Devin Clark def. Darko Stosic by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Joel Alvarez def. Danilo Belluardo by TKO, 2:22, Rd. 2