Anthony Smith knows he will have his hands full at UFC 277 against Magomed Ankalaev.
Smith is taking on the rising Dagestani star who has looked impressive since he suffered a massive upset submission loss to Paul Craig with one second left in a fight he was winning. Since then, Ankalaev has dominated the division. As for Smith, however, he believes he has an advantage on the ground and plans to prove that on July 30.
Anthony Smith on Preparing for Ankalaev
“He’s super tricky because he doesn’t leave a lot of opportunities,” Smith said on the “Believe You Me” podcast with Michael Bisping (h/t MMAJunkie). “He doesn’t have a lot of holes in his game. He’s just very fundamentally sound. I like that it’s a three-round fight because I can really push the pace hard, and I think if I can just put my foot on the gas and go, I don’t think there’s a lot of people in the world that can beat me at 205. I just don’t.”
“I would like to get him on his back,” Smith went on, “I really would. I’d like to see how he is. Everyone talks about his ground and pound and his top control and how dangerous he is, but he’s never attempted one submission his entire UFC career.”
Preparing for an Unorthodox Opponenent
“I think I’ve done a good job of fixing some of my problems, as far as getting up off my back if I do end up there, and I like fighting southpaws,” the fifth-ranked contender continued. “I’ve always enjoyed fighting southpaws.”
“He’s tricky, though,” Smith said of Ankalaev. “I think you’ve got to get through his lead hand and lead leg. I think that’s really the key, is he punch-kicks a lot, he check-punches a lot, which is kind of weird. You don’t see a lot of people do that where they check a kick and throw that same side hook, so we’ve got to figure out how to deal with getting by his lead side. But I think we get by that, I think I’ll be just fine.”
What Waits for Anthony Smith at UFC 277?
If Anthony Smith does as he says and beats Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 277, he will likely earn a light heavyweight title shot. Yet, there’s no question it will be easier said than done, as Ankalaev is a tough out for anyone.