The UFC is back with another stacked card to keep the fight fans glued to their screens. The Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, will host 12 thrilling MMA bouts come Saturday. Heavyweight giants Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Jailton Almeida will headline the main event. Anthony ‘Lionheart‘ Smith will take on Johnny Walker in the co-main spot of the evening.
Anthony Smith (36-17) is making his return to the Octagon since hurting his leg in his last outing against Magomed Ankalaev. Prior to the July bout, the former light heavyweight title challenger was riding a notable wave of momentum. The 34-year-old tried to climb back to title contention by securing stoppage victories over Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute, and Ryan Spann.
𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐂𝐊𝐄𝐃 doesn’t even begin to describe this Saturday’s card 😤#UFCCharlotte | May 13 | 3pmET / 12pmPT live on ABC pic.twitter.com/Ql9lHtURds
— UFC (@ufc) May 11, 2023
His opponent, Johnny Walker (20-7) will look to secure his third victory in a row this Saturday. The Brazilian is coming off stoppage victories over Ion Cutelaba and Paul Craig. However, Walker was in the worst portion of his career before that, with 4 losses in his last 5 contests. That slump included defeats to Corey Anderson, Nikita Krylov, Thiago Santos, and Jamahal Hill.
The promotion had the light heavyweight showdown headlining the upcoming card at one point. However, they lowered it to the co-main spot later on. Smith gladly obliged to the changes, due to only having to fight for 3 rounds instead of 5.
UFC Fight Night: Anthony Smith vs Johnny Walker fighter stats
|Stats||Anthony Smith||Johnny Walker|
|Height||1.93 m||1.98 m|
|Division||Light Heavyweight||Light Heavyweight|
|Reach||193 cm||208 cm|
Smith vs Walker: Fight Breakdown
Johnny Walker knows he has a massive test in his next fight on May 13. Paired up against a seasoned vet of the game, the Brazilian hopes to secure victory over someone who has faced some of the biggest names of his generation. A win won’t necessarily put Johnny straight into title contention. However, it will surely bring him closer to the gold than he is right now.
In terms of stature, Walker stands tall at 1.98 m, as he towers over Smith whose height is recorded to be 1.93 m. In terms of reach, the Brazilian once again scores a massive advantage possessing one with 208 cm. ‘Lionheart,’ on the other hand, has a reach of 193 cm. As per UFC stats, Johnny has landed 3.38 significant strikes per minute while eating 2.60 of them in return.
His opponent has landed 2.99 significant strikes per minute but has absorbed a staggering 4.37 strikes in return. This makes for an alarming number for the former title challenger. If Walker can stay out of Smith’s range while putting his own reach to good use, he can jab his way to a victory, or even a potential finish.
Things might take a different route should the bout go to the canvas. Smith has gained 5 submission wins under the UFC banner, which speaks highly of his ground game. Walker, on the other hand, only has one. It is also noteworthy that both the fighters have only ever had one decisive win in the UFC, with the remaining all coming through finishes.
Though Smith didn’t come close to the win, he has taken on arguably the GOAT of MMA, Jon Jones. This is a fact Walker will be taking into consideration heading into their fight. On one hand, Johhny needs to be careful given the plethora of experience Smith has gained over the years. On the other hand, the Brazilian’s opponent has been through so many wars that it may have significantly affected his resilience.