UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Teixeira Predictions and Best Bets

Predictions and betting picks for UFC Fight Night, featuring Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira in the main event.
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It’s rare these days that the UFC presents a fight night on a Wednesday. But after a successful event amidst the COVID-19 pandemic last Saturday, all things are a go for UFC Fight Night Jacksonville tonight. This event comes just days after UFC249, which reported a record-setting UFC betting handle, as reported by Sports Illustrated Fantasy and Gambling Analyst Frankie Taddeo earlier this week.

Wednesday’s main event features two top-10 ranked former title contenders in No. 4 Anthony Smith (33-14) taking on No. 8 Glover Teixeira (30-7). Both are just a fight or two away from another crack at the gold. The co-main will match up heavyweight Ben Rothwell (37-12) against Ovince Saint Preux (24-13), who will be moving up from light heavyweight looking to snag a statement win and show he can hang in the 265-pound division. The card as a whole will feature 11 matchups. Let’s get to it.

EVENT DETAILS

TIME: WEDNESDAY 5/13/20 at 6 P.M. ET
BROADCAST: ESPN+
VENUE: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
LOCATION: Jacksonville, Florida
MATCHES: 11 

MAIN CARD:

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 205LBS

#3 ANTHONY SMITH 33-14 VS #8 GLOVER TEIXEIRA 30-7

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265LBS

BEN ROTHWELL 37-12 VS OVINCE SAINT PREUX 24-13

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT 155LBS

#15 ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ 11-2 VS DREW DOBER 22-9

BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT 135LBS

RICKY SIMON 15-3 VS RAY BORG 13-4

MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT 185LBS

KARL ROBERSON 9-2 VS MARVIN VETORI 14-3-1

PRELIMS:

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265LBS

ANDREI ARLOVSKI 28-19 VS PHILIPE LINS 14-3

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT 155LBS

MICHAEL JOHNSON 19-15 VS THIAGO MOISES 12-4

WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT 135 LBS

#15 SIJARA EUBANKS 4-4 VS SARAH MORAS 6-5

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT 155LBS

GABRIEL BENITEZ 21-7 VS OMAR MORALES 9-0

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT 135LBS

HUNTER AZURE 8-0 VS BRIAN KELLEHER 20-10

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT 265LBS

CHASE SHERMAN 14-6 VS IKE VILLANUEVA 16-9

Will it be Anthony Smith or Glover Teixeira who moves one step closer to title contention with a win Wednesday night? 

In the night’s main event, No. 3 Anthony Smith (33-14) makes his return to take on No. 8 Glover Teixeira in a fight that will move the winner one step closer to another shot at the light heavyweight title. Smith has been out almost a year following a submission win against Alexander Gustafsson, a fight where he suffered a severely broken hand, resulting in an initial failed and eventual successful secondary surgery. You may remember Smith admitting he considered amputating his finger in order to get him back in the octagon as quick as possible. Lucky for him, in his words “some crazy lady” recommended a different option which eventually healed the damage.

Teixeira is riding a three-fight win streak into Wednesday night, and even at 40 years of age continues to show his toughness and resiliency against some of the best in the world.

Looking at the matchup, I’ll point out that Smith is as composed as ever. As a matter of fact, on the eve of the fight, Smith dialed into SiriusXM and connected up with his radio colleagues to give some updates on how the week has been. He detailed he’s not nervous and that it's just another day for him until he fires up his go-to playlist and begins his war-up regime just before go time.

This is the same routine he’s done for some time, including his run at light heavyweight, going 4-1 with his only loss being via decision against Jon Jones. His four victories have come via finish against some respectable names, making it finishes in all of his last seven victories. Smith has shown he has the ability to manage the distance against his opponents, something he will need to do against the powerful Teixeira.

Teixeira, as mentioned earlier, is riding a three-fight winning streak, although in his last two he took some considerable damage. At 40, he will be nine years older than Smith, and will cede the speed and cardio advantage to Smith. Historically looking at striking and grappling statistics, Teixeira just about sweeps every category, though Smith at this weight class has looked remarkable.

So who do we take? This could really go either way, and I suspect along the way one of these guys will land a fight-deciding shot. However, I lean in favor of Smith.

There is also something I’d like to bring to your attention. Smith opened at -175, with Teixeira at +140. Oddsmakers typically have seen Smith as a dog in his career, only positioning him as the favorite on five occasions. Smith is 5-0 in those fights. Teixeira on the other hand, he’s only opened as the underdog three times in his last 18 fights. Guess what? He’s 0-3 as an underdog. Will the trends continue? My Smith lean says yes.

Another angle to consider is that Smith has only been finished once in his last 18 fights. Teixeira has only been finished three times in his entire career. Couple that with the fact that fights going to decision have risen from 46% to 65% with no crowd on hand. Kind of an odd take there, but I like it when I see the over 2.5 rounds at plus money.

PREDICTION: ANTHONY SMITH -175 

A couple other quick takes:

  • Ray Borg, who missed weight on four occasions, was the first to hit the scales Tuesday morning and successfully hit the limit. Borg is trying to flex on the haters, but will have a tough test in Ricky Simon. Both guys have similar styles, great gas tanks and can scramble. Borg is great taking the back, but with Simon’s size, he should have some struggles in controlling him on the mat. Expect Simon to force more striking exchanges, neutralizing the takedown attempts and taking at least two rounds. PREDICTION: RICKY SIMON -150 (BY DEC +125)
  • Hunter Azure has more motivation than ever entering his fight against Brian Kelleher. A new father as of April 10, Azure’s girlfriend gave birth to their son, Wilder. Just a day before, he was notified his April 18th fight was postponed due to the pandemic. An emotional ride for sure, but things happen for a reason, right? The postponement gave him more time with his new son, and with that time came new motivations. This isn’t just about him now, he’s fighting to better his family. Now 8-0 in his career, he looked great in his UFC debut against Brad Katona late last year, and will look to continue to impress Wednesday night. Kelleher avoided the pink slip in January with a quick submission victory against Ode Osbourne, after dropping two in a row to wrap up 2018. Kelleher is 4-3 in the UFC and is a decent striker, but Azure’s reach advantage should cause some problems. Azure should be better both standing and on the mat. He’ll have almost a seven-inch reach advantage, some nasty kicks and is a four-time small classification state wrestling champion out of Montana. I’m siding with the proud new father. PREDICTION: HUNTER AZURE -190 

OTHER MATCHUP PREDICTIONS:

SMITH defeats TEIXEIRA

ROTHWELL defeats SAINT PREUX

HERNANDEZ defeats DOBER

SIMON defeats BORG

LINS defeats ARLOVSKI

JOHNSON defeats MOISES

EUBANKS defeats MORAS

MORALES defeats BENITEZ

AZURE defeats KELLEHER

SHERMAN defeats VILLANUEVA

***

Last event prediction recap: 8-3

Fight card predictions overall: 147-77-6 (66%)

Targeted matchups (wagers): 54-18-2 (75%) [Avg. odds -109]

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