Dana White and the UFC just want to test the adage “practice makes perfect.”
Major US sports have been on hiatus since mid-March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the UFC is making up for it with three events in one week.
The first, UFC 249 last Saturday, was, by all accounts — and pardon the pun — a smashing success.
It was also the first major event for Colorado sports bettors to wager on since the launch of legal sports betting on May 1.
Next on the docket for fans to watch and bet on is today’s UFC Fight Night, dubbed “Smith vs. Teixeira” (Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeria). It will once again take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL.
There are now five apps for Colorado sports bettors to use. That is out of 17 that will launch in the future.
- DraftKings: Partner with Golden Mardi Gras
- FanDuel: Partner with Golden Gates Casino
- BetMGM: Partner with Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino
- BetRivers: Partner with J.P. McGill’s Hotel and Casino
UFC FIGHT NIGHT
What: UFC Fight Night: “Smith vs. Teixeira”
When: May 13
Where: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Watch: ESPN+, prelims and main card
Similar to UFC 249, no fans will be in attendance at tonight’s UFC Fight Night.
Smith (31-14-0 career record), the No. 4-ranked light heavyweight in the world will feel right at home in an empty arena.
He enters tonight’s fight, having won two of his last three bouts, with the loss coming in a light heavyweight title fight to Jon Jones in March of last year.
“As crazy as it sounds, it’s super comfortable,” Smith said to ESPN. “I spent a lot of time on the regional scene. Maybe some of it is — I just adapt well. It kind of just is what it is. I fought in empty venues that were selling tickets.
“This is right up my alley.”
Teixeira (30-7-0) enters Wednesday’s main event with some momentum and a second wind.
The No. 8-ranked light heavyweight, who turned 40 in October, is on a three-fight winning streak that has put him back into contention.
“I thought I was gonna retire when I was 35,” Teixeira told the UFC website. “I never really thought I would be fighting at 40 years old and still loving it. Maybe that was because I was training so much and overtraining most of the time, and you get grumpy and get stressed. There were a few camps when I was like, I can’t wait until I retire; I can’t take this no more. And now I look at Anderson Silva, I look at (Daniel) Cormier, and I’m like, ‘I’m not gonna lose to those guys, I’m gonna keep fighting.’ (Laughs) I love this.”
A win tonight for Smith or Teixeria won’t guarantee a light heavyweight title shot. ESPN notes that both would probably need another fight and win before that happens. But a win would allow either fighter to take the next step on the path to a championship fight with Jones.
THE FIGHT CARD AND ODDS
Light heavyweight: Smith (-180 DraftKings) (-184 FanDuel) vs Teixeira (+145) (+156)
Heavyweight: Ben Rothwell (+115 DK) (+110 FD) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (-139) (-128)
Lightweight: Alexander Hernandez (+102 DK) (+100 FD) vs. Drew Dober (-125) (-116)
Bantamweight: Ricky Simon (-165 DK) (-174 FD) vs. Ray Borg (+132) (+148)
Middleweight: Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori (the odds are not available from either DraftKings or FanDuel)