Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith in the works for UFC 277

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Magomed Ankalaev and Anthony Smith have agreed to meet on July 30 at UFC 277 in a potential No. 1 contender’s bout for the light heavyweight division.

Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plan confirmed the news to MMA Fighting following an initial report from MMA Junkie.

Touted as a future contender since his first day on the roster, Ankalaev will face his biggest test to date when he takes on Smith this summer. The Russian fighter has gone 8-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming in a last-second submission from Paul Craig back in 2018.

Since that time, Ankalaev has rattled off eight consecutive wins, including a unanimous decision over Thiago Santos in a main-event fight in March.

As for Smith, he’ll look to add another big win to his résumé following three straight finishes that included a ‘Performance of the Night’ over Ryan Spann this past September.

Smith has been a perennial threat at the top of the 205-pound division since moving to the weight class. He earned a title shot in 2019 but came up short in a decision to ex-champion Jon Jones.

Now Smith will attempt to put himself back into the race for the light heavyweight title when he clashes with Ankalaev at UFC 277.

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