UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith is quickly making a name for himself in his new weight class.
Smith (30-13) ran roughshod over Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua (25-11) on Sunday, knocking out the former champion with a nasty combination at 1:29 of the opening round. The 205-pound fight headlined UFC Fight Night in Hamburg, Germany.
A former middleweight, Smith is now 2-0 since moving to light heavyweight, with first-round finishes over Rua and Rashad Evans. Afterward, the 29-year-old called for a fight with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 227, on Aug. 4 in Los Angeles. Gustafsson had recently been left without an opponent after Volkan Oezdemir suffered an injury.
"I think Gustafsson needs an opponent, I'll see you in L.A.," Smith said.
Hours later, Gustafsson's agent, Nima Safapour, told ESPN in a text that Gustafsson had pulled out of UFC 227 with a minor injury that occurred last week.
Rua, 36, was actually supposed to fight Oezdemir at this event, but the UFC moved him off the card due to visa issues. Smith agreed to step in on short notice.
The Brazilian legend came in on a three-fight winning streak, but hadn't fought since March 2017. He never really got going Sunday, as Smith caught him with a hard counter front kick early in the fight and then staggered him with a right hand moments later.
Rua backed up and tried to recover against the fence, but he had nowhere to hide from Smith's offense. Smith battered him with punches and then the hard right elbow that put him away.
"I just believe in myself," Smith said. "I believe in my coaches and my support system. I've got three beautiful daughters and fiancée; they believe in me more than anything. That's what I think about when I come out here. I have to do this for them. This is not about me."
Anderson takes out Teixeira on short notice
Anderson, of Rockton, Illinois, racked up eight total takedowns in the fight and consistently beat the hard-hitting Teixeira to the punch in close quarters. He rocked Teixeira's head back with an early uppercut and wobbled him with a short right cross in the second. Teixeira threatened Anderson with a couple guillotine attempts throughout the fight, but Anderson, who has never been submitted, calmly saw his way through them.
The opportunity came up on short notice for Anderson, after Teixeira's original opponent, Ilir Latifi, withdrew due to injury. Anderson said he won't consider any offer to face Alexander Gustafsson on UFC 227 in early August, however, as it would be unfair to his wife and team.
Anderson is back on a winning streak, after losing back-to-back fights in 2017.
Azaitar wins UFC debut
Azaitar outstruck Miranda 135-63 and escaped several perilous positions on the ground, en route to unanimous scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. He surrendered full mount twice in the second round and found himself caught in an armbar in the third, but managed to work free each time.
On the feet, Azaitar landed harder, cleaner shots than Miranda -- particularly to the body. The 32-year-old Moroccan-German hadn't fought since October 2016. A former WSOF fighter, he is now on a five-fight winning streak.
Tybura cruises to decision over Struve
Tybura took Struve down in each of the three rounds, and racked up points with his ground and pound. He suffered a large welt under his right eye during one exchange, but it was otherwise smooth sailing for the 32-year-old. Struve suffered a deep laceration under his lower lip, which bled throughout the fight.
Judges scored the heavyweight contest 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Struve is still only 30, but he's now on the longest losing streak of his career. He has dropped three consecutive contests, to Tybura, Andrei Arlovski and Alexander Volkov. Tybura snaps a two-fight skid with the win, which is his fourth in the UFC.