Anthony “Lionheart” Smith – The Road to TUF 23

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Anthony Smith lands a knee against Brian Green at Bellator 129

Tonight is the night, and Nebraska native Anthony Smith will be representing the midwest tonight during international fight week in Las Vegas.  Smith has had quiet a road to TUF 23, he’s been to the highest of highs and also crashed to lowest of lows.  When I first met Anthony he was on a 2 fight losing streak, including a UFC loss and then after getting cut by the UFC a loss to UFC Vet Josh “The Dentist” Neer, and Smith was looking at different combat sports options.  Smith changed camps from Omaha’s Premier Combat Center, to Mick Doyle’s MMA and Kickboxing, stepping away from everything he had known for some time.  But that’s when things started to change for this young athlete, he was given the opportunity, in April of 2014, to compete for Bellator against his last opponent, Josh Neer’s teammate, Victory Moreno.

Anthony Smith walked out to the cage that night in Omaha Nebraska and systematically tore apart Moreno, and signified a resurgence of his career.  Over the next 2 years Smith never looked back taking down some of the biggest names as unsigned middleweights out there, including Brian Green, Tim Williams twice, Brock Jardine and then he got the opportunity to right a previous wrong as he had the opportunity to step back in the cage to avenge his last lost against Josh Neer at VFC 47, Neer was a late replacement for Elvis Mutapcic who had gotten a call to compete in the UFC.

On January 29th of 2016 Anthony Smith stepped in as the main event of VFC 47 and showed how he had evolved as a fighter over the last three years.  He looked like a man that stepped into the cage on a mission, his mission was to find his was to the UFC.  Smith ran through Neer in the 1st round of the bought with a referee stoppage due to strike, but lets be honest, Smith had Neer in the corner and was raining elbows on him and had him opened up.  After the fight Smith plead to get the call to the UFC sporting a hat saying “Call Me Dana”.

It didn’t take long before Smith got the call to return to the UFC, he was in the cage in Pittsburg less than a month later to take on Leonardo Augusto Guimaraes. Where Smith made his was to only his second career decision winning unanimously.

So now for the next step, TUF 23 finale tonight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He will be taking on another Brazilian Cezar Ferreira and he is the 1st fight on the preliminary card.

Will Anthony Smith continue on his winning ways? What’s next for him? Only time will tell, but tonight you will have the opportunity to see one of MMA’s most exciting fighters, he’s 27 already has 35 pro fights, has only gone the distance twice and hasn’t loss since Dec. of 2013 so my bet would be this will be a fun exciting event to watch!