Anthony Smith vs. Shogun Rua will now serve as the new UFC Hamburg main event, following Volkan Oezdemir being moved to UFC 227.
It looks like the UFC has found a new opponent for Shogun. According to a report from ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Anthony Smith will step up into the main event of UFC Hamburg. He’ll replace Volkan Oezdemir, who is moving to UFC 227 to face Alexander Gustafsson. It’s a little bit of musical chairs for the UFC, who had been in the midst of seeking an opponent for ‘The Mauler’ on the PPV card in Los Angeles next month.
As a result, Shogun gets Smith (29–13), who dished out the final loss of Rashad Evans’ career last month at UFC 225. Smith is 4-1 in his last five in the UFC, and scored a key win over Hector Lombard last September. He moved up to light heavyweight for the Evans fight after being finished by Thiago Santos in February, and it looks like the move is going to stick, at least for now.
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua (25–10), meanwhile, is currently on the best streak of his UFC career. The former light heavyweight champion has won three straight, against Little Nog, Corey Anderson, and Gian Villante. However, he has struggled to make it to the cage consistently, fighting just once per year for the past three years. The fight against Smith will be his first since March 2017. The bout against Shogun had originally been booked for UFC Chile in May, but was pushed back as Oezdemir was struggling with legal issues stemming from a felony battery charge.
With Anthony Smith vs. Shogun Rua and Volkan Oezdemir vs. Alexander Gustafsson now set for UFC Hamburg and UFC 227 respectively, hopefully this game of musical chairs is over. The Hamburg card takes place July 22.