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UFC books Smith-Rountree on short notice as Dec. 9 co-headliner

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A short-notice light heavyweight bout between former title challenger Anthony Smith and Khalil Rountree will serve as the co-main event of UFC Fight Night on Dec. 9 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, UFC CEO Dana White announced Friday evening.

Rountree was scheduled to face Azamat Murzakanov at UFC Austin on Dec. 2, but White said the latter withdrew from the matchup after coming down with pneumonia.

Smith is coming off a split-decision win over Ryan Spann in August. That victory snapped a two-fight skid. "Lionheart" holds a 1-1 record in 2023.

Rountree carries a lot of momentum into the matchup, as he's won four straight. Most recently, he knocked out former heavyweight Chris Daukaus in the first round this past summer.

A bantamweight clash between Song Yadong and Chris Gutierrez will headline the Dec. 9 event, which was recently moved to Las Vegas after originally being set to take place in Shanghai.

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