The second card in under a week for the Ultimate Fighting Championship is now history.
No. 8 Light Heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira (32-7) stopped No. 3 contender Anthony Smith (33-16) in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 29 early Thursday morning in Jacksonville at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.
Wednesday’s event was the second UFC show in a span of eight days for the home arena of the 2019 National Arena League champions, the Jacksonville Sharks.
As was the case with last Saturday night’s UFC 249 pay-per-view and will be the case with this Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 8, UFC on ESPN+ 29 took place without fans in the venue.
This was a safety precaution made in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The good news is that, as of early Thursday morning, none of the 20 competitors who fought on the Wednesday night show have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Last Friday, after the official UFC 249 weigh-in, Jacare Souza (26-8), who was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall (15-9) in a Middleweight prelim last Saturday, tested positive for the virus.
As a result, that contest was called off for the event.
A fight on the UFC on ESPN+ 29 main card was canceled for Wednesday night, though it was not due to the virus.
Karl Roberson (9-2) vs. Marvin Vettori (13-4-1) in the Middleweight division was scheduled to open Wednesday’s main card.
Roberson was, however, admitted to a Jacksonville-area hospital due to issues stemming from a weight cut prior to the event.
As for the fights themselves, UFC on ESPN+ 29 was a 50/50 split.
Out of the 10 fights contested on Wednesday night, five ended in stoppages, with the remaining five going to the judges’ scorecards for decisions.
Dating back to last Saturday, Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena has now played host to 10 UFC stoppages.
The stoppage victories began early on Wednesday night with the first two fights on the undercard ending in knockouts.
Chase Sherman (15-6) returned to UFC action with a second-round knockout of Ike Villanueva (16-10) in a Heavyweight prelim to begin the evening.
This was followed a short time later by Brian Kelleher (21-10) stopping Hunter Azure (8-1) by second-round knockout in a Bantamweight prelim.
Aside from those two knockouts, no other stoppages were recorded on the undercard.
Wednesday’s main card began with the lone submission of the evening when Thiago Moises (13-4) scored a second-round ankle lock stoppage vs. Michael Johnson (19-16) just 25 seconds into the round.
Despite trailing opponent Alexander Hernandez (11-3) in takedowns by a 3-0 margin, Drew Dober (23-9) scored the fourth stoppage of the evening, knocking Hernandez out 35 seconds into round two.
Finally, we get to the most controversial stoppage of the evening on Wednesday.
After having clinically dominated No. 3 contender Anthony Smith since the third round of the headliner on Wednesday night, No. 8 contender Glover Teixeira saw his TKO win confirmed in the fifth round of the main event (ground and pound strikes) when referee Jason Herzog intervened.
It is this writer’s opinion that Herzog’s stoppage was way too late in happening.
When you consider the fact that Smith’s teeth began to fall out during the fight, resulting in him losing some teeth in the contest, the stoppage should have been made sooner.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto pointed out that Smith has porcelain veneers, as mentioned in this tweet:
Spoke briefly to Anthony Smith's head coach Marc Montoya (@coachMMontoya). He said one thing people don't realize is Anthony has veneers, that have fallen out before in practice. So, when Anthony said his teeth were falling out, their interpretation was different from viewers.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 14, 2020
Daniel Cormier, who was working UFC on ESPN+ 29 as a TV analyst for ESPN+, was quick to correctly point out that Smith’s cornermen should have thrown in the towel between rounds during the fight to protect him from any further damage.
Credit should rightly be given to Anthony Smith for staying in the main event for as long as he did.
He took a major beating in that fight and it should not have been allowed to go on for as long as it did.
Despite the late stoppage of the main event on Wednesday night, UFC on ESPN+ 29 was another great show from the UFC.
It gets a solid B in my gradebook.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.