Coming in on short notice to replace Volkan Oezdemir, Anthony Smith took advantage of his UFC Hamburg main event opportunity, knocking out former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the first round at Barclaycard Arena.
The win follows another first-round knockout of a former UFC champ, as the surging Smith finished Rashad Evans at UFC 225 in June.
Smith was accurate with his striking early, and it only got worse for Rua as the first round progressed, as a kick to the face began a sequence of hard shots from the Nebraskan. After taking the kick, Rua flurried, but Smith reset and landed a 1-2 upstairs that sent Rua stumbling backward on rubbery legs. Smith sensed this and moved forward, landing punch after punch until a right hand stiffened Rua and brought referee Marc Goddard in to stop the fight just as a left hand sent the Brazilian icon to the canvas. The official time of the finish was 1:29 of round one.
With the win, Omaha’s Smith moves to 30-13. The No. 8-ranked Rua falls to 25-11.
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