UFC Moncton’s main event featured a clash of light-heavyweight contenders on the rise, Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith.
Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith both have had similar paths in the UFC light heavyweight division. Volkan debuted on short notice against Ovince Saint Preux and edged him out for a decision, next he knocked out Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa in under 70 seconds. Anthony Smith moved up to 205 pounds earlier this year and knocked out former champions in Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua in his first two fights at the weight class.
Seeing as both fighters had incredible finishes in the UFC and an action-packed style, this main event was expected to deliver fireworks. It absolutely delivered, as Anthony Smith submitted Volkan Oezdemir in the final minute of round three.
The first round saw Volkan come forward with big power as Smith looked to weather the storm. Shooting a takedown to start the fight, Smith spent the majority of the fight on the backfoot. Volkan moved forward and used many hooks as well as leg kicks to take away the legs of the taller Smith. Round one was clearly Volkan’s, but it seemed Smith was just getting started.
The second round saw Smith charging forward with shots trying to hurt Volkan. However, Volkan seized the opportunity and took the fight to the ground with a nice trip takedown. He soon got the back and landed some nice shots and looked for the rear-naked choke at points. Volkan spent the rest of round two on the back of Smith, who couldn’t get out from under Oezdemir.
Round three saw both fighters looking very winded, Smith and Oezdemir were both trading shots until Anthony Smith got the takedown. On top, Smith got the position that Oezdemir had him in last round, except Smith wasn’t letting this position slip away. He got the arm under the neck for the rear naked choke and that was all she wrote.
Anthony Smith has gone from unranked middleweight to likely second ranked light heavyweight in under a year, what a story. He took the opportunity to call for a title shot, which he may have very well earned with this performance.
Anthony Smith def. Volkan Oezdemir by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in Round 3 (4:26)