In the co-main event of UFC Charlotte, Johnny Walker showed his dominance once again by delivering a punishing performance against Anthony Smith. Walker’s calf kicks inflicted a considerable amount of damage on Smith’s leg, and he also managed to score a knockdown with his jumping knees and head kicks.
Although Walker couldn’t quite finish Smith before the final horn, his performance was enough to earn him a victory – the judges scoring the contest 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 in his favor. “I want to prove myself,” said Walker after the fight. “I don’t want to finish him quickly. Because if I beat him too quickly, there’s no joy.” It was evident that Walker was sitting down hard on those calf kicks, which caused significant damage to Smith’s leg, forcing him to engage in the exchanges and throw his right hand like a sledgehammer.
Walker was quick to engage in the exchanges, throwing punches alongside Smith, and catching him with a stiff punch that staggered the veteran momentarily. However, it led to a takedown against the cage, which Walker defended well, ending with a reversal before the round ended.
Walker continued to target Smith’s lead leg throughout the match, but Smith attempted to counter by throwing his overhand right. With time winding down in the final round, Walker was content with his repeated kicks that limited Smith’s mobility on the feet. Whenever Smith countered, usually with his right hand, Walker did an effective job of rolling with the punch, with most of the impact landing on his shoulder instead of his head.
Eventually, the accumulated damage to Smith’s leg gave Walker an opening to connect with a stiff punch that dropped him down to the mat. While Walker followed him briefly to the ground, a stalemate ensued, prompting him to stand back up again. Although it was clear that Smith was compromised, Walker was cautious not to make a mistake in the closing moments, leading to his one-sided unanimous decision victory.
After the bout ended, Walker showed respect by jumping out of the cage to shake hands with former opponent and UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill seated nearby, stating that he was coming for the top. With his victory, Walker marked his third win in a row overall, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the UFC.