UFC 288: New Black Belt Parker Porter Stops Braxton Smith with Ground n’ Pound

Braxton Smith and Parker Porter, UFC 288
Braxton Smith and Parker Porter, UFC 288 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

Heavyweight Braxton Smith was among the debuting fighters at Saturday’s UFC 288 in New Jersey, paired up with Parker Porter in his promotional debut.

Smith, who made his debut in 2014, a loss to Chase Sherman, took the next eight years off — and that is not a typo. The passing of his mother saw him stray from the sport, while the birth of his daughter brought him back. After five wins in 2022, Smith faced an opponent in Porter who was coming in hungry, on a two-fight skid and potentially looking to save his spot on the roster.

Smith came out with a big right hand that barely missed Porter. Then he exploded forward with a looping right-left and barely clipper Porter with the left. Smith wanted that dog fight and he got it for a few seconds. Just a minute into the fight, however, Smith was already gassed. That was a bad sign. Smith shot in for a bad takedown following a knee to the body, and Smith easily sprawled and got top position. Porter mounted Smith landing ground and pound and Smith wasn’t moving. Porter avoided the big shots and took Smith out, spoiling his debut.

Following the fight, an emotional Parker Porter said that his wife and mother were in the building for the first time in his UFC career. He also revealed he’d received his black belt in BJJ in December, making the ground game a focus ahead of UFC 288.

Official Result: Parker Porter def. Braxton Smith by TKO (ground and pound), Round 1, 2:10