Anthony Smith will attempt to maintain relevance among light-heavyweight contenders while Ryan Spann wants to prove he belongs in that discussion when the two face off in the main event of UFC Vegas 37 this Saturday night. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.
- When: Saturday September 18th, 2021 at 7:00pm ET (ESPN+)
- Where: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Lines: Anthony Smith (-170) and Ryan Spann (+150); Over 2.5 rounds (+110) and Under 2.5 rounds (-140); odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Anthony “Lionheart” Smith was once considered a top contender in the light heavyweight division but his trajectory seemed to have been derailed following a soul-crushing beatdown by the hands of Glover Texeira. Smith, however, appears to have no intention of going quietly into the night after winning consecutive fights in the first round.
Smith averages 3.00 strikes (significant) landed per minute (SLpM) with 47 percent striking accuracy, with 4.36 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 42 percent striking defense, 0.47 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 28 percent takedown accuracy, 47 percent takedown defense and 0.7 submissions per 15 minutes, according to UFC Stats.
Smith has won two straight fights, including first-round stoppages of Jimmy Crute (TKO Rd1, 2021) and Devin Clark (sub Rd1, 2020), following losses to Aleksandr Rakic (UD, 2020) and Texeira (TKO Rd5, 2020) and a win over Alexander Gustafsson (sub Rd4, 2019).
Ryan Spann will be fighting in a UFC main event almost exactly one year after his only loss in the UFC, and he will be the underdog in his attempt to prevent his second UFC loss on Saturday evening.
Spann is three years younger with an inch height advantage and three inch reach advantage over Smith. He averages 3.55 SLpM with 45 percent striking accuracy and 3.45 SApM with 47 percent striking defense, 1.72 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 41 percent takedown accuracy, 60 percent takedown defense and 1.7 submissions per 15 minutes.
‘Superman’ has won four of five contests, including wins over Misha Cirkunov (TKO Rd1, 2021), Sam Alvey (SD 2020), Devin Clark (sub Rd2, 2019) and Antonio Rogerio Nougeira (TKO Rd1, 2019) and a loss to Johnny Walker (TKO Rd1, 2020).
Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann Narratives
Lionheart backers will highlight the significant discrepancy in experience and strength of schedule, with all of Smith’s UFC losses coming to top contenders in the division, while also questioning Spann’s cardio and lack of experience in later rounds, suggesting that Spann must win in the first two rounds or bust.
Spann’s youth and size could be perceived as advantages over Smith and there is some speculation that Lionheart’s loss to Texeira was career-altering, similar Tony Ferguson‘s loss to Justin Gaethje, and that Smith has sustained significant damage over his UFC tenure that might make his chin susceptible.
Anthony Smith vs. Ryan Spann Prediction
Not unlike Dominick Reyes, the perception of Anthony Smith appears to have benefitted from his competitive fight and going the distance against Jon Jones. Smith’s violent dispatching of washed, former UFC champs in Mauricio Rua (TKO Rd1, 2018) and Rashad Evans (TKO Rd1, 2018) could also be factors in inflating Smith’s value and we do not feel his current line of -170 is justified.
While Smith did look sharp against a quality opponent in Jimmy Crute, Crute’s leg injury was somewhat of a fluke and it is worth noting that Crute was still able to take down and control Smith even with the severely injured knee, illustrating how Smith is susceptible to takedowns and being controlled on the ground.
Anthony Smith was +685 to win by TKO against Jimmy Crutepic.twitter.com/oUMfi70AhT
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) April 25, 2021
Ryan Spann has the superior striking differential and power, higher percentage takedowns and takedown defense, and some might argue that his loss to quality opponent Johnny Walker was also somewhat of a fluke in a contest that easily could have gone the other way.
Ryan Spann was 20 seconds away from finishing Johnny Walker, unfortunately he shot for a takedown.pic.twitter.com/cHFI3Gvk98
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) September 9, 2021
The highest probability outcome is that this fight does not go the distance, but -360 is too much juice to lay. Even if Ryan Spann’s gas tank causes him to start strong and fade after two rounds, we can’t consider taking Smith at this line and can only see any betting value on the underdog.
Pick: Ryan Spann +150
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