Welcome to the UFC: Braxton Smith

Braxton Smith, UFC 288
Braxton Smith, UFC 288 official weigh-in Credit: Jake Noecker/Cageside Press

Heavyweight Braxton Smith makes his octagon debut at UFC 288 this Saturday in Newark, NJ. The card is headlined by a bantamweight title fight, as Aljamain Sterling takes on the returning Henry Cejudo. Former double-champ Cejudo retired in 2020, taking three years off, but Braxton actually took over seven years off at one point.

Braxton “The Beautiful Monster” Smith
Standing at five-foot-eleven
Fighting at 265 lbs (heavyweight)
Fighting out of Austin, Texas, US
Training out of Black Sheep Boxing
A pro record of 5-1

How will Smith fare in the UFC:

Smith’s only loss was his pro debut to UFC’s Chase Sherman. That was all the way back in 2014. He didn’t fight again until May of last year. So, Smith didn’t fight in over seven years. Smith has been on the tear since returning. Smith recently won the Peak Fighting heavyweight championship last March.

Smith doesn’t have the ideal heavyweight size at just five-foot-eleven. He does have heavyweight power knocking guys clean out that are much bigger than him. Being so small for his weight class it is much harder for him to find his range. He hasn’t had any issues yet but it’s going to happen eventually. Powering forwards swinging bombs isn’t always going to work at his size.

It’s hard to tell how good Smith is. He is 33 and has yet to fight for over two and a half minutes. If an undersized older guy is going to excel however, it’s going to be at heavyweight. Even saying that Smith may be jacked but he will get thrown around and struggle to close the distance. He’s only taller than Ilir Latifi in the division so he’s going to be at a huge disadvantage to start.

How he matches up with Parker Porter:

Looking at the two you would think Smith washes Porter but it’s a closer fight. Porter is coming off two losses and got knocked out in his last fight. Smith will have a big advantage with speed and explosiveness. If Smith doesn’t run through Porter he will be in trouble whereas Porter fights well late in the fight.

Porter is also usually durable, being able to take a punch, so getting put away by Tafa is concerning. There are a lot more concerns with Porter. He’s on a losing streak, he just got knocked out, is older at 38, and lacks the speed and power to keep up. It all depends on if he can handle the early heat Smith brings. I have to side with Porter just because I think he can survive a few minutes and take over. It’s a closer fight than most people think.