Report | Anthony Smith agrees to fill in for Volkan Oezdemir against Shogun Rua

Anthony Smith

Earlier today, it was announced that Volkan Oezdemir would be backing out of his UFC Hamburg headliner with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Why did he back out? To take a higher profile bout with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 227 on August 4th in Los Angeles.

Because of Oezdemir shuffling around in fights, it has left Shogun oppontless…at least for the time being. Close to finalization appears to be a replacement via the aid of Anthony “Lionheart” Smith reports Ariel Helwani.

According to multiple sources, both Shogun Rua and Anthony Smith have verbally agreed to fight on 7/22 in Hamburg. Not signed yet. This comes after Shogun’s original opponent Volkan Oezdemir was moved to 8/4 to fight Alex Gustafsson, which was first reported by @bokamotoESPN.

Oezdemir vs Shogun originally was supposed to take place at UFC Chile in May but didn’t due to Oezdemir having some visa issues. This matchup will obviously have to wait now.

Looking to step in is the Nebraska native, Smith who just recently earned another big knockout win this time being over a former UFC champion, Rashad Evans at UFC 225. With UFC Lincoln on August 25th approaching, Smith has been very vocal about wanting on that card no matter who it’s against and what weight it would be at.

With a bigger opportunity presenting itself, Smith decided to jump on it.

Having not fought since March 2017, Shogun currently rides a three-fight winning streak that consists of two decisions and one knockout. Now at age 36, Shogun appears to be slowing down with his fighting frequency as he’s only fought once a year since 2014 while he fought at least two times a year from 2014 to 2010.

With Smith’s first career light heavyweight bout coming in his last time out against a former champion, another win over a big name and former champ could catapult him right into immediate contention in the thin 205-pound weight class.

 

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/2/2018