As of January 31st, UFC’s lightweight prospect Devonte “King Kage” Smith (MMA 10-2-0, UFC 2-1-0) was in search of an opponent to stand across the cage from him on at the UFC Apex on February 6th.
According to an MMA Fighting article by Guilherme Cruz and Mike Heck, Smith’s originally scheduled opponent Alex da Silva (MMA 21-3-0, UFC 1-2-0) was forced to withdraw from the February 6th bout and has since been shelved for at least eight-weeks due to suffering a lateral collateral ligament injury (LCL) during training.
2020 has shown us that last-minute fighter replacements are simply a way of life now. Whether the withdrawals are due to positive COVID-19 results, injuries, or breaching COVID-19 safety protocol by sneaking bags with unknown contents into hotel rooms, the UFC is ready and willing to ensure that the show goes on.
Smith, who managed to string together an immaculate six-fight finishing streak before losing via TKO to Khama Worthy (MMA 16-7-0, UFC 2-1-0) in the first-round of their 2019 matchup, now has dance partner – and a formidable one at that.
Reported by MMA Junkie, “King Kage” is now expected to face Justin “Guitar Hero” Jaynes (MMA 16-6-0, UFC 1-2-0) on the prelims of UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs Volkov.
Jaynes, who burst onto the UFC scene with a 41 second TKO win against Frank “The Crank” Camacho (MMA 22-9-0, UFC 2-5-0) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, is no stranger to short-notice fights though he has been on the wrong end of his last two bouts against Gavin Tucker and Gabriel Benitez, respectively.
This matchup of fighters with eccentric nicknames should be one that fight fans keep an eye on this weekend. Devonte Smith has only been out of the first-round in four of his twelve career fights (33%). Similarly, Justin Jaynes has only been out of the first-round in nine of his twenty-two career fights (41%)
This fight should move at a break-neck pace – don’t blink during this one.