BREAKING: Anthony Smith Fills in for Injured Johnny Walker to Face Jimmy Crute in April

Published 02/10/2021, 12:10 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 28: Anthony Smith reacts after submitting Devin Clark in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on November 28, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


UFC 261 sees former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith step in for Johnny Walker to face Jimmy Crute. The Brazilian fighter, Walker, suffered a torn pectoral muscle and had to bow out of the fight at UFC 260. Jimmy ‘The Brute’ announced the news of Johnny Walker’s withdrawal on Instagram and wasn’t too pleased with the cancelation.

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Crute has gotten a replacement and will have a few more weeks to prepare. ‘The Brute’ has been streaking in the company as of late, and he’s quite highly rated by fans and media. However, he will have his work cut out against ‘Lionheart’ who is a big name in the division.

Smith will look to derail Crute as he plots a path back to championship contention following a 1-2 run in 2020.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 18: (R-L) Jimmy Crute of Australia punches Modestas Bukauskas of Lithuania in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 18, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Johnny Walker was arguably a favorable match-up given Crute’s guard-heavy strikes that keep him protected from unorthodox attacks. Walker has used his athleticism to catch opponents off guard, and Crute will now have to reassess his new opponent. Smith offers a much more controlled approach and he still adding new facets to his game.

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UFC light heavyweights: Anthony Smith vs Jimmy Crute

‘Lionheart’ Smith snapped a losing streak in his most recent outing. The grizzly veteran defeated Devin Clark in convincing fashion in his main event booking that took place back in November. Prior to the win, questions crept up about his viability at the very top of the division.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 28: (L-R) Anthony Smith attempts to submit Devin Clark in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night at UFC APEX on November 28, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Anthony Smith has suffered some comprehensive defeats in his recent fights, most notably to Glover Teixeira. However, when he turns up to fight, it’s hard to get him to take his foot off the gas. The 34-16 fighter has the skill and patience to wait out Crute’s early offense and head to a win.

Jimmy Crute is 4-1 since comprehensively entering into the UFC, and he’s looked like a force to be reckoned with. The Australian talent is as explosive in the cage as he is on the mic, and he’s been waiting for a step up in competition. Crute’s fundamentals are undoubtedly rooted in place, and he’s primed to be a mainstay for a long time.

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Darryl Pinto

1630 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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