It seems that winning wasn’t the only way to earn a UFC contract this past Saturday at the Strikeforce finale event. Despite a loss in Oklahoma City, undercard competitor Anthony Smith put on an impressive showing that has allowed him to punch his ticket to the Octagon.
The MMA Corner has learned from sources close to the fighter that despite losing at the Strikeforce finale, Smith will be given a UFC contract. Details of the contract were not revealed.
[Update: The MMA Corner has since confirmed with the fighter that he is indeed headed to the UFC. Smith stated that UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby came by the locker room following Smith's fight and told him to get in touch with Shelby's fellow UFC matchmaker, Joe Silva. Smith expects to have a contract to sign by the end of the week.]
Smith fought Roger Gracie on the preliminary card portion of the Jan. 12 Strikeforce event. Although the Premier Combat Center product eventually succumbed to an arm-triangle choke in the second round, he had the upper hand in the earlier moments of the fight before an accidental eye poke led to a change in momentum. Smith was landing low kicks and avoiding Gracie’s takedown attempts in an impressive opening stanza for the 24-year-old middleweight. The accidental eye poke, which came late in the first round, appeared to give Smith problems as the second round began and Gracie took advantage of it to score the finish.
After a slow start to his career, Smith, who is 17-9 overall, went 12-2 over his previous 14 fights heading into his bout with Gracie and was looking to extend a three-fight winning streak. The four-time Strikeforce competitor, who went 2-2 under the promotion’s banner, holds notable wins over fellow Strikeforce vet Lumumba Sayers and WEC veteran Eric Schambari.
At this time, there are no details on when Smith will make his UFC debut.
Photo: Anthony Smith (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)