UFC president Dana White promised he was bringing back sports for good — and it certainly felt that way as the UFC prepared to host its second event in five days.
After postponing all events from March 14 to May 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC is looking to make up for lost time with a midweek UFC Fight Night. Wednesday’s headliner will feature former light heavyweight title contenders Anthony Smith (32-14) and Glover Teixeira (30-7). It will take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, and air on ESPN+ beginning at 6 p.m. ET. There will be no fans in attendance.
For Smith, 31, it’s an opportunity to build off a stoppage win over Alexander Gustafsson in his last outing, and continue his push toward a second UFC title shot. The Nebraska native has promised he will earn his way to a rematch against Jon Jones, whom he lost to in 2019.
Teixeira, 40, has a similar motive, although his comes with a higher sense of urgency. The Brazilian’s title hopes appeared to be all but gone from 2016 to 2018, when he dropped three of five appearances, but he has since rattled off three consecutive wins. An upset of Smith would crack the door for Teixeira for one more shot at a title.
There are 10 bouts total on Wednesday’s card, featuring veterans such as heavyweights Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell, as well as an intriguing prospect in Ricky Simon. And when the night is over, the UFC will immediately turn around and look forward to its next event in Jacksonville, which will take place Saturday.
Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim will recap the action as it unfolds.
Fight in progress
Recap to come.
Two years ago, Sherman was cut from the UFC after three straight losses. He has been busy since then. Sherman won three straight on the regional scene — all by TKO – and took home a heavyweight bare-knuckle boxing title.
On Wednesday night, Sherman returned to the UFC and put on an excellent performance, stopping Villanueva at :49 of the second round in the UFC Jacksonville opener.
That’s an amazing performance on 6 days notice!! @chasesherman
— michael (@bisping) May 13, 2020
After a dominant first round, Sherman poured it on in the opening seconds of the second. He landed a big combination, including a body shot. He landed hard leg kicks. And then he finished up against the cage with another punching combination and a thrusting elbow to Villanueva’s face.
Sherman, 30, has won four in a row overall after three straight losses in the UFC in 2017 and 2018. The Mississippi native has won 14 of his 15 career pro MMA fights by KO/TKO.
Villanueva, 36, was making his UFC debut. The Texas native had won four straight coming in.