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|UFC on ESPN 9: Smith vs. Teixeira
|VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
|Wednesday, May 13, 9 PM EST
|How to watch
|Watch on ESPN+ here!
It’s a busy week for the UFC.
With UFC 249 taking place this past Saturday, the organization will quickly rebound to host UFC on ESPN 9 this Wednesday night before turning over once again to host UFC on ESPN 10 this coming Saturday. Luckily for the UFC, all three of these events are taking place within the same venue.
UFC on ESPN 9 is headlined by a light heavyweight fight between two former title challengers: Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira.
Both fighters are looking for a big win which could lead to a chance for either man to avenge their respective loss to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Among other fights, this ESPN card will also see the heavyweight debut of long-time light heavyweight contender Ovince St. Preux.
It will be the first heavyweight fight of his career and he is set to take on Ben Rothwell in the co-main event.
Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook on May 12, 2020.
|Ovince St. Preux
After an incredibly active 2018, fighting four times, we haven’t seen Anthony Smith in the octagon since last summer. After winning three in a row against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Rashad Evans, and Volkan Oezdemir, Smith was granted a title shot against Jon Jones last March. He would lose to Jones via unanimous decision.
However, he would waste little time wallowing as he would go on to fight Alexander Gustafsson in June 2019.
He would defeat the former title challenger in impressive fashion, submitting him with a rear-naked choke in the fourth round. Smith was awarded the performance of the night bonus for his efforts.
But since that fight, Smith has spent most of his time at the UFC broadcast desk and thwarting home burglaries.
Smith stands at an impressive 6 ft. 4 in. and possesses a 76-inch reach. Training with the Factory X team out of Denver, Colorado, Smith is coached by Marc Montoya and has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
He has been fighting professionally since 2008 and is currently ranked as the third-best light heavyweight in the division by the UFC. He is 31-years-old.
Glover Teixeira has been enjoying a career resurgence as of late after trading wins and losses throughout 2017 and 2018.
Through 2019, Teixeira has strung together three wins in a row over Karl Roberson, Ion Cutelaba, and, most recently, Nikita Krylov. Teixeira finished Roberson and Cutelaba with submissions before defeating Krylov via split-decision last September.
The 40-year-old Brazilian stands at 6 ft. 2 in. – two-inches shorter than his opponent. However, his 76-inch reach will match Smith’s.
A former title challenger himself, Teixeira has been fighting since 2002 and trains at his own gym: Teixeira MMA and Fitness.
He has a 7th-degree black belt in Kajukenbo under John Hackleman, a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and a 2nd-degree black belt in luta livre. He is ranked as the UFC’s eighth-best light heavyweight.
Our Pick: Anthony Smith via TKO, +100.
Who ya got?
— UFC (@ufc) May 11, 2020
Since returning to the octagon in 2014 following a drug-related suspension, Ben Rothwell has gone 4-3. He returned from suspension winning three fights in a row but then turned around and dropped his next three contests – albeit all by unanimous decision and to top heavyweight contenders or former champions.
Rothwell found redemption in his last fight, however, defeating Stefan Struve last December via second-round TKO.
”Big Ben” stands at 6 ft. 4 in. tall and has an impressive 78.5-inch reach. The 38-year-old fighter recently moved his training camps to the Roufusport gym in 2019 and trains with coaches Thiago Veiga and Luiz Claudio.
He has been fighting since 2003, has an undefeated 3-0 professional kickboxing record, and also boasts a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Rothwell is another fighter who had his originally scheduled fight in April canceled due to the pandemic. He was set to face Gian Villante on the original April 18 UFC 249 card.
Since his loss to Jon Jones in 2016, Ovince St. Preux has gone 5-5 in the UFC light heavyweight division.
In four of those five wins (including wins over Yushin Okami, Corey Anderson, and Tyson Pedro), he received performance bonuses.
But he always seemed to come up short against the top contenders, losing to fighters such as Ilir Latifi, Nikita Krylov, and Dominick Reyes.
OSP most recently fought last September, defeating Michal Oleksiejczuk via von flue choke in the second round. In fact, OSP holds the UFC record for most fights stopped with a von flue choke with a total of four.
For his first heavyweight bout, St. Preux will only be giving up half of an inch to Rothwell and will, in fact, possess a 1.5-inch reach advantage over his opponent.
Fighting professionally since 2008, OSP trains out of the Knoxville Martial Arts Academy out of Tennessee and has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Rafaello Oliveira.
He is tied with Jone Jones and Glover Teixeira for the most stoppage-wins in UFC light heavyweight history.
Our Pick: Ovince St. Preux via decision, +280.
After winning his first two fights for the UFC promotion, Alexander Hernandez was given a step up in competition as he was put up against legend Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone last January.
Cerrone would defeat Hernandez via TKO in the second round but it was definitely a positive learning experience for the young fighter. Since the Cerrone fight, Hernandez has bounced back.
Last summer, Hernandez defeated Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision. He was expected to face Islam Makhachev on the original UFC 249 card in April, but, as well all know, that fell through when Russia closed its borders and Makhachev could no longer travel. He was replaced by Omar Morales but the card was eventually scrapped altogether.
Hernandez stands at 5 ft. 9 in. tall and has a reach of 72 inches.
He is 27-years-old. The American-born fighter trains out of San Antonio, Texas with the Ohana Academy. Fighting as a professional since 2012, he currently holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is ranked as the 15th-best lightweight in the UFC.
Drew Dober is currently riding a two-fight win streak in the UFC and is the fresher fighter for those who believe in ring rust, as he fought earlier this year at UFC 246.
His back-to-back wins both came via first-round stoppage, with his first-round knockout of Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 246 earning him a performance of the night bonus. He was originally expected to face Carlos Diego Ferreira on May 2 at UFC Fight Night 174.
Dober will be one-inch shorter than his opponent and will have a two-inch reach disadvantage.
The 31-year-old trains out of Denver, Colorado with the Elevation Fight Team and has been competing in MMA professionally since 2009.
He is a southpaw fighter which could cause some trouble for his younger, less experienced opponent. He is currently unranked by the UFC.
Our Pick: Drew Dober via decision, +260.
After winning his first three fights in the UFC, Ricky Simon had a 2019 to forget, going just 1-2, losing his last two fights in a row. Last summer, Simon was put up against a coming-out-of-retirement Uriah Faber.
It was clear that Faber spent his years in retirement staying in great physical shape as he was able to TKO Simon within the first minute of their fight. Simon followed the Faber fight with a stronger performance against Rob Font, earning fight of the night, but was ultimately defeated via unanimous decision.
This will be his first fight of 2020.
Standing at 5 ft. 6 in. tall, the American fighter has a reach of 69 inches and has been fighting professionally since 2012.
He currently trains with coaches Ian Loveland and Fabiano Scherner at theGracie Barra Portland gym. He has a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a former LFA bantamweight champion.
Unlike his opponent, Ray Borg is riding a two-fight winning streak. But, like his opponent, there was still much of his last year that Borg would like to forget.
Borg’s weight-cutting issues continue to plague him as he missed weight twice over the past 10-months at both flyweight and bantamweight. His last fight was earlier this year against Rogerio Bontorin.
It was Borg’s return to the flyweight division and he would miss weight by three pounds. He would go on to win the fight via unanimous decision.
Standing 5 ft. 4 in., Borg will stand two inches shorter than Ricky Simon and will also be at a six-inch reach disadvantage.
Fighting out of New Mexico, the gaidojutsu practitioner trains at Jackson’s MMA Acoma. He is a former flyweight title challenger.
Our Pick: Ricky Simon via decision, +110
Since joining the UFC in 2017 after defeating Ryan Spann on the Dana White Contender Series, Karl Roberson has remained quite active. Since the fight with Spann, Roberson has fought six times over the past two years and went 4-2. His last fight was a submission win over Roman Kopylov.
The victory marked his second in a row after losing to Glover Teixeira last January.
”Baby K” has been fighting since 2015 and trains at the Killer B Combat Sports Academy under trainer Brian Wright. Born in New Jersey, Roberson stands at 6 ft. 1 in. tall and has a reach of 74 inches.
He also has an undefeated kickboxing record of 3-0.
Going 4-2-1 since joining the UFC in 2016, all of Marvin Vettori’s fights for the promotion have gone the distance.
After an impressive split-decision loss to the now-middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, Vettori went on to defeat Cezar Ferreira by unanimous decision.
He followed that performance with another unanimous decision victory over Andrew Sanchez last October.
Standing one-inch shorter than Roberson, the Italian-born Vettori will have an equal 74-inch reach.
Training with the Stabile Fight Team as well as Kings MMA in the U.S, Vettori has been fighting professionally since 2011 and has a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Filippo Stabile.
Our Pick: Marvin Vettori via submission, +600.
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