Anthony Smith weathered an early storm to submit Devin Clark in the first round of the main event of UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Smith and Clark were elevated to the main event after Curtis Blaydes was pulled from his heavyweight showdown with Derrick Lewis after testing positive for COVID-19. Smith and Clark immediately agreed to a five-round fight but Smith made sure that all 25 minutes weren't needed.
After absorbing an overhand right from Clark, Smith immediately dragged the fight to the canvas and cinched in a triangle choke to earn the submission at the 2:34 mark of the opening frame.
Smith snapped a two-fight losing streak and pushed back on the notion that he should retire with an impressive performance against a heavy-handed opponent who sought to pick up the biggest win of his career with a highlight-reel finish.
"I don't give a s*** what the media says. I don't care what the fans say. I don't care what anybody says. It's about making a statement to myself."@LionheartASmith was happy to get a bounce-back win to prove he is still a contender in the light heavyweight division. #UFCVegas15 pic.twitter.com/bmBPkchMPT— UFC News (@UFCNews) November 29, 2020
Smith used a bodylock to take Clark down after tasting some of his opponent's power. With a distinct advantage on the ground, Smith manuevered into position as he snaked his legs into a triangle choke. Clark had nowhere to go and was forced to submit.
Smith improved to 34-16 overall with his latest finish. The 32-year-old also entered the win column for the first time in 2020. Clark fell to 12-5 and saw his two-fight winning streak end.