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Anthony Smith steps in for Volkan Oezdemir against 'Shogun' Rua at UFC Hamburg

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Anthony Smith won’t get his desired spot on the upcoming UFC card in his native Nebraska, but he will get a much bigger opportunity instead.

Smith (28-14 MMA, 5-3 UFC) has agreed to step in for Volkan Oezdemir against former UFC champ Mauricio Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) in this month’s UFC Fight Night 134 headliner. MMAjunkie verified the booking with a person with knowledge of the fight. The person wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. ESPN.com first reported the new main event.

UFC Fight Night 134 takes place July 22 at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany. The entire card airs on FS1.

“Shogun,” No. 13 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, was left without an opponent for several hours today after Oezdemir was removed from their scheduled headliner in favor of a matchup with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 227 next month.

Smith, 29, was one of the immediate frontrunners to get the fight with the Brazilian legend, and he managed to get the opportunity in what will he second consecutive bout against a former 205-pound titleholder. “Lionheart” moved up to light heavyweight this past month and scored a 53-second knockout of Rashad Evans for a result that ultimately pushed Evans into retirement.

He will go up against Rua, 36, who is currently riding the longest winning streak of his UFC career at three consecutive bouts. He hasn’t fought in more 16 months, though, with his most recent bout being a third-round TKO of Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night 106 in March 2017.

The latest UFC Fight Night 134 card includes:

MAIN CARD (FS1, 2 p.m. ET)

  • Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith
  • Ilir Latifi vs. Glover Teixeira
  • Stefan Struve vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Abu Azaitar vs. Vitor Miranda
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Nasrat Haqparast
  • Alan Jouban vs. Danny Roberts

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 12 p.m. ET)

  • Damir Hadzovic vs. Nick Hein
  • Bartosz Fabinski vs. Emil Meek
  • Justin Ledet vs. Aleksandar Rakic
  • Jeremy Kimball vs. Darko Stosic
  • Pingyuan Liu vs. Damian Stasiak

For more on UFC Fight Night 134, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.



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