After UFC 249: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje kicked off three fight cards in eight days, UFC on ESPN: Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira did not disappoint.
While Smith was sharp in the first round, Teixeira weathered the storm and won his fourth consecutive fight via TKO (punches) early in the fifth and final round.
As it is rare to say a fight should have been stopped much earlier by the ref or corner, Smith was doing just enough to defend himself but took a lot of damage.
And at one point in the middle of the fourth round, Teixeira actually apologized to Smith while still punching him after knocking out his teeth, via ESPN MMA:
Teixeira: Sorry, Anthony, it’s part of the job.
Teixeira: Sorry. Part of the job.
Smith: Yeah. It is what it is.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 14, 2020
While Smith’s coach thought it was his veneers that also come out in practices, Smith was ‘good’ with the decisions, according to Marc Raimondi of ESPN:
“I’m good with the decisions the referee and my corner made,” Smith said. “When the ref made it clear he needed to see something or he was gonna stop it, I did what I had to do to stay in the fight. I come out of battle with my shield or I come out on it. That’s my rule. Period.”
While Smith is as tough as they come, the reality is his corner or the ref ultimately needed to protect him from himself in order to fight again in the near future.
As a result of no fans at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Smith was trying to do everything his corner said, got tired, and took unnecessary damage in the loss.
Despite being nine years younger than Teixeira, Smith has had nine more fights than him and taking that type of damage certainly will not extend his career.
As Smith and his corner should reevaluate their strategy, Teixeira is looking to make one final push at the light heavyweight championship belt in 2020.