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The path back to Ultimate Fighting Championship title contention for Anthony Smith will begin with an unranked opponent.
The news first coming from MMA Junkie on Thursday, Smith (33-16) will be competing again at the light heavyweight division against Devin Clark (12-4). The two will come to blows at the Nov. 28 UFC Fight Night card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Clark was originally booked against Shamil Gamzatov, but the Russian pulled out due to visa issues. In his stead will be Smith, and the matchup has since been confirmed by other outlets.
Although Smith discussed a potential return to the middleweight division after a pair of one-sided losses to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic, the former light heavyweight title challenger is staying at 205 pounds for the foreseeable future. “Lionheart” moved to light heavyweight after a loss to Thiago Santos in 2018, where he rattled off a trio of stoppages against Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua and Volkan Oezdemir to get a title shot. Jon Jones staved him off, but Smith bounced back by tapping Alexander Gustafsson in 2019 to precede the aforementioned defeats against Teixeira and Rakic. The Nebraska natives sports a sky-high finish rate of 91 percent throughout his over 12-year career.
Clark is on his first win streak since 2017, when he took a pair of decisions against Josh Stansbury and Jake Collier. Alternating wins and losses for the next few years, Clark has since won two unanimous verdicts over Dequan Townsend and Alonzo Menifield in 2020. Across his six wins inside the Octagon, Clark has yet to finish an opponent. On the other hand, all four of his defeats came within the first two rounds.
The UFC Fight Night event on Nov. 28 takes place in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and headlining the card is a heavyweight rumble between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis. No official co-main event bout has been announced, although Renato Carneiro squares off with Rafael Fiziev in a thrilling lightweight scrap.