With Erick “Ghost Pepper” Gonzalez dropping out of the fight, L’udovit Klein stepped in on short notice against lightweight Devonte Smith early on the UFC 272 preliminary card.
Klein was looking to snap a two-fight skid that had seen him fall to TUF champ Mike Trizano and Nate “The Train” Landwehr, while Smith was coming off a single loss to Jamie Mullarkey.
Two push kicks from Smith started off the fight after a tough of the gloves. A left hand from Klein missed. A 1-2, followed by a body kick from Klein landed. Smith answered with a body kick of his own. Klein partially landed a high kick that got Smith’s attention. Smith landed an oblique kick. Klein landed a straight left that rocked Smith and pounced on him. Smith smartly clinched with him to survive. Klein started throwing knees and shoulder strikes in Smith’s clinch. Marc Goddard separated the pair with 30 or so seconds left in the round. Klein landed a head kick and 1-2 to end the round, and Smith was saved by the bell.
Round two opened with a body kick and two high kicks from Smith. Another two high kicks from Smith got Klein’s attention. Klein then clinched with Smith and put him against the fence. They finally broke apart with three minutes left, and Smith landed a low kick. Smith caught Klein’s body kick and tried for a takedown; however, Klein stuffed it and put him against the fence again. Some dirty boxing between the two fighters while they were against the fence. Goddard separated them again, and Smith shot for a takedown. Klein defended the takedown perfectly and put Smith against the fence again to end the round.
Round three started with Smith landing two high kicks. Klein landed a front kick that hurt Smith, but Klein decided to clinch with Smith against the fence. Smith landed an elbow off the clinch break. Klein landed a straight left got a reaction from Smith. Three minutes left in the round, and Klein clinched with Smith yet again. Just over two left, and Smith wobbled Klein with a punch that made him shoot for a takedown, but nothing happened. Smith landed a knee and elbow. Klein put Smith against the fence again with less than a minute left. Smith escaped, and both fighters landed a kick to end the fight. It would go to the scorecards, with Klein earning the split decision victory.
Official Result: L’udovit Klein def. Devonte Smith by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)