Saturday’s UFC main event, Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis, has been scrapped. Anthony Smith and Devin Clark will serve as the new headliners. UFC Vegas 15 has taken a big hit, but there are still reasons to watch.
Earlier today, ESPN reported that heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes has tested positive for COVID-19. Not long after, the promotion declared that Anthony Smith and Devin Clark will now fight a five round main event. Early indications are that the UFC will try to re-book Blaydes–Lewis for December, but no official word yet.
Before you make other plans for Saturday evening, take a look at some reasons why you should still tune in to UFC Vegas 15.
A Hungry Up and Comer Gets an Even Bigger Opportunity
Getting the call to fight Anthony Smith in a co-main event slot was already a big opportunity for Devin Clark. Now, he’s slated to take part in his first ever main event against a former title challenger.
Clark will make his 14th UFC appearance this weekend. He has fought some world-class competition in the past, like Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic, but neither were ranked as high as Smith at the time.
‘Brown Bear’ has a tendency to fall short when he’s faces top opponents. A win over Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith and all will be forgotten. Clark will then be on a three fight win streak and he’ll find himself ranked come next week.
Similar to what Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev have coming up, Clark will look to take advantage of the biggest opportunity of his life at UFC Vegas 15.
How Much Heart Does the Lion Have Left?
Anthony Smith has had a wild last two years, since fighting Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship. After falling short to Jones, ‘Lionheart’ submitted Alexander Gustafsson in Performance of the Night fashion. Then, in April 2020 his Nebraska home gets invaded. Follow that up with back-to-back losses and Smith finds himself trying to avoid “gatekeeper” status.
How could anyone not root for this guy though? I mean ‘Lionheart’ is a spot-on nickname for this warrior. His heart is always shown on his sleeve, both in wins and in defeats.
We’re all going to find out how much heart he has left when he faces Devin Clark at UFC Vegas 15. Clark is a sizeable step down in competition from what Smith is used to. That fact is going to tell us all we have to know about whether or not Smith is still cut out for this.
If Smith wins and looks good doing it, we’ll know that he can still fight ranked guys and it’ll leave the door open for one last run up the ranks. Meanwhile, if Saturday’s outcome is anything close to his last two bouts, we’ll know that it’s time for him to hang up the gloves.
I hate saying that, but it’s true. ‘Lionheart’ is a solid analyst and he’s proven to be able to find work outside of the cage. We might see the last of Anthony Smith inside the octagon if he loses Saturday.
Baeza–Sato Will Provide Fireworks
Alright, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you by saying this is a great card; because it’s not. I will tell you there are a couple must-watch bouts if you’re a big fight fan. Miguel Baeza vs Takashi Sato is one of them.
Baeza has never lost a MMA contest, and the guy is a finisher. He proved that in his last outing by dropping veteran Matt Brown with a clean left hook. On the flip side, Sato is a chaotic fighter who hardly ever sees the final bell.
Not only is this fight almost guaranteed to provide fireworks, but it’s also a chance to watch two rising welterweights. If I had to predict, I’d say Baeza has a higher ceiling in the sport. That doesn’t mean Sato can’t halt him in his tracks though.
If you’re only going to watch a couple fights this weekend, make sure to watch this one. There’s no doubt it will be more entertaining than Tyson–Jones.
If you can’t find any good reason to tune in to UFC Vegas 15, place some bets. Putting some skin in the game will always keep your attention. Nearly all of the prominent sports betting apps now allow you to wager on the UFC.
If you’re looking to put some money down this weekend, I recommend a parlay. Little bet, big payout.
An underdog I like is Malcolm Gordon (+260) vs Mudaerji Su (-345). Moreover, Rachael Ostovich (+160) is a good bet against Gina Mazany (-200), as the bout will likely be close.
Add Anthony Smith to that parlay and a five dollar wager will net you $80.50! Needless to say, that will give you all the reason to watch some fight this weekend at UFC Vegas 15.
Those were four reasons to watch UFC Vegas 15. COVID-19 has forced everybody to stay on their toes this year, and this Saturday is no different. I’m just thankful that we get to watch some fights.