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Anthony Smith replaces Johnny Walker, set to fight Jimmy Crute at UFC 261

Crute and Walker had been set to fight at UFC 260, but following Walker’s removal from the bout, the Aussie will meet ‘Lionheart’ a month later.

UFC Fight Night: Walker v Spann Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

A light heavyweight fight between Johnny Walker and Jimmy Crute will no longer be happening at UFC 260 as Walker has been forced out due to an injury.

Crute took to Instagram on Monday evening to announce that Walker had withdrawn from their fight. The reason behind Walker’s withdrawal is a torn pectoral muscle, which apparently will require surgery. MMA Fighting spoke to the Brazilian fighter’s team, who explained that Walker suffered the injury while in the middle of his training camp for Crute. Walker is expected to undergo surgery soon, with no timetable for his return established just yet.

In his post about Walker’s injury, Crute revealed that a new opponent has been found. Someone he views as a “true fighter,” one who is a “better name and bigger challenge” for him.

That man? None other than former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith. ESPN announced that Smith has stepped in to face the ‘Brute’. Not, however, at UFC 260 as had originally been planned. Instead they will face off one month later at UFC 261.

Smith is fresh off a first round submission victory over Devin ‘Brown Bear’ Clark, back in the hastily assembled main event for UFC Vegas 15. That win stop a two-fight slide for the Nebraska-based talent, who took one of the roughest losses of his career in early 2020, at the hands of Glover Teixeira, and was ground into the mat for three rounds back in August by surging top contender Aleksandar Rakic.

Crute rebounded from this first loss of his professional career with back-to-back finishes in his most recent appearances. At UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. Hooker, Crute submitted Michal Oleksiejczuk with a kimura in the first round. He would follow up that performance with a knockout of Modestas Bukauskas at UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie.

No main event has been announced for UFC 261 as for yet. However, the card is expected to feature a long-awaited rematch between former UFC champion Chris Weidman and Ultimate Fighter finalist Uriah Hall. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as the fight approaches.

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