UFC Jacksonville: Smith vs. Teixeira Preview

A preview of Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Jacksonville, Fla.

Updated: May 12, 2020 • 6:00 PM ET

Ovince Saint Preux is looking to make his name known in the UFC's heavyweight division.

The UFC will return to Jacksonville, Fla. on Wednesday for a mid-week UFC Fight Night card. The event follows UFC 249, which took place on May 9 as the UFC returned from a nearly two-month hiatus, and will take place in the same arena (VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena) with no fans in attendance once again.

Wednesday’s main event will be a light heavyweight bout between former title challengers Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira. The No. 4 ranked Smith is coming off the biggest win of his career, a fourth-round submission of former two-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson last June. The win was also a big rebound for Smith after losing a unanimous decision for the title to champion Jon Jones at UFC 235 last March.

Smith has won four of his last five fights with all four victories coming by finish over either a title challenger or former champion. Three of the four wins came in 2018 on his way to a title shot over Volkan Oezdemir by third-round submission, Shogun Rua by first-round knockout and Rashad Evans by first-round knockout.

The 31-year-old Smith can place himself right back in the title conversation at 205 pounds with another win. It’s unclear who will challenge Jon Jones next, but Smith will have a great argument for consideration with a win over Teixeira.

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The No. 8 ranked Teixeira has won three straight fights since losing a decision to Corey Anderson in July 2018. He most recently defeated Nikita Krylov by split-decision in September, earning yet another big win in his career. He challenged Jones for the title at UFC 172 in 2014, but lost a hard-fought unanimous decision. Since then, he has stayed consistent in the light heavyweight division, collecting wins over Ovince Saint Preux, Patrick Cummins, Rashad Evans, Jared Cannonier and Misha Cirkunov.

Additionally, the 40-year-old has key victories over Ryan Bader, Rampage Jackson and Fabio Maldonado. The MMA world has waited for Teixeira to slow down and just when it seems like he’s beginning to, he has put together another winning streak. A win over Smith would put the veteran in a great position for another fight with a top 5 contender.

Co-main event

Wednesday’s co-main event will be a heavyweight bout between Ben Rothwell and Ovince Saint Preux.

Rothwell is coming off a second-round TKO of Stefan Struve in December, which was a big rebound for the 38-year-old after losing three straight to top contenders. From 2013 to 2016, Rothwell won four straight fights that put himself in a great contenders position until running into former champion Junior dos Santos.

Rothwell has fought in the UFC since 2009 and including Struve, he holds key victories over Brandon Vera, Alistair Overeem, Matt Mitrione and Josh Barnett. However, he hasn’t been given an easy task in welcoming Saint Preux to the heavyweight division.

Saint Preux will make his heavyweight debut on Wednesday after being a fixture in the light heavyweight rankings for many years. He’s coming off a win over Michal Oleksiejczuk in September, rebounding from two straight losses.

The 37-year-old has fought for the interim light heavyweight title and has key victories over Tyson Pedro, Corey Anderson, Yushin Okami, Patrick Cummins, Shogun Rua and Nikita Krylov. A win over an established fighter such as Rothwell could give Saint Preux new life in a new division where fighters are one to two wins away from being a title contender.

 

The rest of the main card on ESPN+ at 9 p.m. EDT

Lightweight bout - No. 15 Alexander Hernandez vs. Drew Dober

Bantamweight bout - Ricky Simon vs. Ray Borg

Middleweight bout - Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori

 

Prelims on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. EDT

Heavyweight bout - Andrei Arlovski vs. Philipe Lins

Lightweight bout - Michael Johnson vs. Thiago Moises

Women’s bantamweight bout - No. 15 Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras

Lightweight bout - Gabriel Benitez vs. Omar Antonio Morales Ferrer

Featherweight bout - Hunter Azure vs. Brian Kelleher

Heavyweight bout - Chase Sherman vs. Isaac Villanueva

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