The British bantamweight always seems to be willing to get into a brawl, but it was a tactical change to look for calf kicks in the third round that helped him put Smolka down on the canvas. As soon as his opponent hit the floor, Grant jumped on the opening and hammered away with punches until Smolka went unconscious.
The end came at 49 seconds into the final round, with Grant scoring the emphatic knockout victory.
“He hit me with some good shots,” Grant said afterwards. “I felt comfortable, nothing really hurt me. I felt really fresh going into the third round.
“I think I’m making a good reputation for myself. I want quick knockouts, that’s what I’m aiming for but I seem to get into these good scraps.”
Grant was an offensive machine as he threatened Smolka with every combination early, throwing with serious power behind every punch and kick. The footwork from Grant also gave Smolka problems, as the Englishman would throw his strikes and then move out of the way before anything could really come back at him.
Despite eating a lot of shots, Smolka kept moving forward but wasn’t able to make Grant really pay during the exchanges. Late in the opening round, Grant cracked Smolka with a nice jab directly down the middle that put the Hawaiian down on the canvas.
Smolka survived to the second round and the reset appeared to help him as he came up throwing with a lot more volume, with many of his punches catching Grant clean. It also didn’t help Grant that he put so much force into his strikes that it appeared he might be slowing down, which also made him get a little wild with his combinations.
That all changed at the start of the third after Grant’s coaches told him to return to the calf kicks, which was a very effective weapon for him in the early part of the fight. As soon as Grant landed a couple of those in a row, Smolka was visibly affected with his leg taking a lot of damage.
Another calf kick followed and Smolka went down, with Grant following him to the ground and unloading with punches that scored him the knockout.
The win helped put Grant back on track after two losses in a row — and he might be looking at an extra $50,000 when the night is over, while also continuing to build his reputation as one of the most exciting fighters on the entire UFC roster.