Smith scores early submission vs. Spann in UFC main event

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Anthony Smith defended his position as a top-10 light heavyweight Saturday, submitting Ryan Spann with a rear-naked choke at the 3:47 mark of the first round in the UFC Fight Night main event in Las Vegas.

Smith dropped Spann earlier in the chaotic round to set up the submission finish. "Lionheart" took control on the ground and eventually flattened Spann out, sinking in the choke and forcing his opponent to tap.

In his postfight interview, Smith expressed interest in a rematch with top contender Aleksandar Rakic, who responded on Twitter and said he's available in December. Rakic defeated Smith by unanimous decision in an August 2020 main event.

Smith is now tied with welterweight Vicente Luque for the most first-round finishes in the UFC since 2018 with five, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The 33-year-old extended his winning streak to three, as he entered the headliner coming off back-to-back victories over Jimmy Crute and Devin Clark, the latter of whom lost to Ion Cutelaba in Saturday's co-main event.

Smith challenged Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title in 2019, losing by unanimous decision. Ranked sixth at 205 pounds, he's 4-2 since then and appears to be once again headed toward the top of the division.

Spann, who competed in his first UFC main event Saturday, alternated wins and losses in his past four Octagon appearances. The Fortis MMA product came into the fight off a highlight-reel stoppage over Misha Cirkunov in March.

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Smith scores early submission vs. Spann in UFC main event
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