Don't count out Anthony Smith in the light heavyweight division just yet. He reminded Devin Clark there are levels to MMA with a slick first-round submission win over the up-and-comer in the main event of UFC Vegas 15 from the Apex Facility on Saturday.
Clark—coming off an impressive win over Alonzo Menifield—was looking to ply his grappling against the veteran Smith in hopes of a breakout performance.
That turned out to be a bad strategy. Instead, Smith, who is mostly known for throwing knockout strikes, reminded fans he has a submission game too. With Clark on top of him, Smith locked in a triangle choke and forced the tap.
The win snaps a two-fight losing streak and keeps Smith toward the top of the division. Clark was 2-0 in 2020 before the bout but wasn't able to step up in competition quite yet.
It was a night for fighters looking to bounce back from a loss. The main card featured several fighters who came back to put in good performances after losing their last fight. Here's a rundown of all the action and who represented themselves nicely.
- Anthony Smith def. Devin Clark via submission (triangle choke) at 2:34 of Round 1
- Miguel Baeza def. Takashi Sato via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:28 of Round 2
- Parker Porter def. Josh Parisian via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
- Bill Algeo def. Spike Carlyle via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Norma Dumont Viana def. Ashlee Evans-Smith via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Jonathan Pearce def. Kai Kamaka via TKO (strikes) at 4:28 of Round 2
- Anderson dos Santos def. Martin Day via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:35 of Round 1
- Gina Mazany def. Rachael Ostovich via TKO (strikes) at 4:10 of Round 3
- Mudaerji Su def. Malcolm Gordon via KO (strikes) at 0:44 of Round 1
- Nathan Maness def. Luke Sanders via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:29 of Round 2
Miguel Baeza def. Takashi Sato
Miguel Baeza ran his undefeated streak up to 10-0 with a second-round submission win over Takashi Sato in the co-main event.
Baeza was promoted to the co-main event when the card lost the original heavyweight main event between Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes, and he took advantage of the increased exposure with a slick arm-triangle to earn the tap from a game opponent in Sato.
The win is Baeza's first career submission victory, adding another tool to his repertoire to finish fights.
Sato has now alternated wins and losses in his four UFC fights. He continues to show good power in the striking game but clearly has to work on his grappling if he's going to make a serious run in the organization.
Parker Porter def. Josh Parisian
The clash between Parker Porter and Josh Parisian had all the best elements of a midcard heavyweight fight. Both of the heavies threw heavy leather, but it was Porter's grappling game that set him apart.
Porter was able to get Parisian to the mat multiple times and tried to lock in an armbar in the second round. He switched it to a keylock before ultimately letting go of the hold, but it was just a part of the control he displayed in picking up the win.
Ultimately, Porter took all three rounds on the judges' scorecards and even earned a few 10-8 rounds.
Porter was yet another fighter on the evening who looked much improved from his UFC debut. He was blown away by Chris Daukaus in his last bout but was able to ply his grappling much more effectively in picking up his first UFC win.
Bill Algeo def. Spike Carlyle
Spike Carlyle and Bill Algeo figured to be one of the most fun fights on paper, and it didn't disappoint. There were scrambles galore as both grapplers tried to establish dominance on the ground.
Algeo's advantage on the feet and overall volume carried the day for him, though. According to ESPN's fight stats, the two shared nearly the same amount of control time, but Algeo landed over four times as many strikes as his opponent.
Algeo proved to be the more well-rounded of the two, which gave him the clean sweep on the judges' cards.
Senor Perfecto is now 1-1 in his young UFC career. He definitely showed signs of growth in this bout after dropping a unanimous decision to Ricardo Lamas.
Carlyle has now lost back-to-back fights and sits at 1-2 in the UFC.
Norma Dumont def. Ashlee Evans-Smith
The women's catchweight (139.5 lbs) fight between Norma Dumont and Ashlee Evans-Smith was about as one-sided a fight as a fight that goes all three rounds could get.
Dumont—who was on the losing end of a lopsided loss to Megan Anderson in her first UFC bout—gave Evans-Smith all she could handle over the course of the fight. Whether on the feet or on the mat, Evans-Smith had no answers for the Brazilian.
The winner earned a 10-8 round on each of the judges' scorecards:
Dumont is clearly a much better fighter than she showed in her UFC debut to a strong featherweight. She'll need to get her weight figured out. She was the one who weighed over the bantamweight limit of 135 pounds and made it a catchweight, but she clearly has the skills to hang around in the division.
Jonathan Pearce def. Kai Kamaka
Jonathan Pearce's UFC debut went as poorly as it could have when Joe Lauzon knocked him out in under two minutes. However, he more than made up for that poor showing with a second-round TKO win over Kai Kamaka to kick off the main card.
Pearce showed a little bit of everything in the bout. He landed some crisp combos in the boxing exchanges and some knees in the clinch, and he pulled off some smooth transitions on his way to flattening out his opponent and raining down strikes to get the finish.
The winner could have opted for a submission but chose instead to go for the more guaranteed route in picking up his first win in the UFC:
The 28-year-old showed the talent that made him stand out on Dana White's Contender Series. Kamaka earned a decision win over Tony Kelley in his own UFC debut in August but was outmatched in this one.