There’s another UFC Fight Night card this Saturday night from the organization’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, and it’s headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Anthony Smith and Aleksander Rakic.
The latter is a -255 favourite on the MMA odds with Smith at +190.
Technically, UFC pound-for-pound king Jon Jones is the light heavyweight champion, but he has relinquished that title in a financial dispute with the organization and the likelihood that Jones moves up to heavyweight. At UFC 253 next month, No. 1 contender Dominick Reyes and No. 3 Jan Blachowicz will fight for the belt. Smith is ranked No. 5 in the division and Rakic eighth.
Anthony Smith UFC Fight Night Odds
The 32-year-old Smith (33-15) fights out of Omaha, Nebraska, and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He turned pro way back in 2008 and has fought in several organizations – Smith won a middleweight title in both the Cage Fury Fighting Championships and Victory Fighting Championship and began his UFC career in 2016 as a middleweight with a unanimous decision win over Leonardo Guimaraes.
“Lionheart” eventually moved up in weight and got a light heavyweight title shot vs. Jones at UFC 235 in March 2019 and lost via unanimous decision. Taking Jones the distance is impressive on its own. Since then, Jones is 1-1, beating Alexander Gustafsson by fourth-round submission (rear-naked choke) and losing in May to Glover Teixeira by fifth-round TKO (punches).
Smith’s UFC fights average 10:12 and he lands 3.19 significant strikes per minute (absorbs 4.57), while averaging 0.45 takedowns per 15 minutes with 27 percent accuracy. His takedown defence is 51 per cent. Smith has 18 wins by KO/TKO and 12 by submission; nine of his 15 losses are by KO/TKO.
Aleksandar Rakic UFC Fight Night Odds
Rakic, 28, is from Vienna, Austria, and 12-2 in his professional MMA career. He’s a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Rakic also has a boxing and kickboxing background. “Rocket” began his career in 2011 with a loss and stayed in Europe for years. His UFC debut was in September 2017 in the Netherlands where Rakic beat Francimar Barroso by unanimous decision.
Rakic then won his next four before losing to Volkan Oezdemir last December by split decision. This past February, Rakic signed a new long-term deal with the UFC. His fights average 9:58 and he lands 5.17 significant strikes per minute (absorbs 2.41) while averaging 1.20 takedowns per 15 minutes with 28 per cent accuracy. Rakic’s takedown defence is 88 per cent.
UFC Fight Night Predictions: Smith vs. Rakic Prediction
Size-wise, the two are about the same with Rakic holding a two-inch reach edge. Smith has fought much better competition overall and holds a third-round submission win over Oezdemir in October 2018, while Rakic just lost to Oezdemir. Still, Rakic is the better striker and wrestler. He wins by TKO.