Magomed Ankalaev had broken Anthony Smith’s three bout winning streak at UFC 277 this Saturday.
The No.4-ranked Ankalaev was taking on the No.5 Smith in a potential title eliminator bout.
During the opening minutes of the bout, the two traded heavy leg kicks several times. Smith also caught a kick from Ankalaev but the Russian easily pulled his leg free in the middle of the round.
Despite the actions early on, most of the round saw the pair giving respect to each other’s power. Both fighters can be seen circling and puzzling out distance and timing before throwing strikes at their opponent.
In between rounds, Smith informed his corner that he felt something in his ankle. However, the American continued into the second round without tell tale signs of an injury.
Smith was also able to drive the Dagestani to the fence and attempted a takedown. But it appears that the issue with his leg got serious as he failed to capitalize on the position.
Feeling the pressure loosened, Ankalaev pushed Smith to the ground and proceeded to launch a barrage at the ‘Lionheart’.
After several unanswered shots, the referee Jacob Montalvo halted the bout and waved the bout off.
Smith could be heard saying he had broken his leg — potentially on one of the earlier leg kicks.
“Who do you think broke it? He hit me!” Magomed Ankalaev exclaimed when informed of Smith’s injury. He then proceeded to question why he wasn’t booked for the belt just yet.
The win marked Ankalaev’s first finish win in his last four. Prior to the win over Smith, Ankalaev outpointed Nikita Krylov, Volkan Oezdemir, and Thiago Santos.
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Dana White subsequently confirmed that there’s no fracture in Smith’s leg.