UFC Fight Night Main Event Odds, Pick and Prediction: Anthony Smith vs. Aleksandar Rakic (Saturday, Aug. 29)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: (L-R) Opponents Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic of Austria face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in.
- Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakić will battle Saturday night in the UFC Fight Night main event.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down the fight, predicting it will go over 1.5 rounds.
- Check out Zerillo's full preview for updated odds, picks, and predictions ahead of Saturday night's main event.
Anthony Smith vs. Aleksandar Rakic Odds
|Smith odds||+215 (BET NOW)|
|Rakic odds||-275 (BET NOW)|
|Over/Under||1.5 Rounds (-167/+125) (BET NOW)|
|Time||11:30 p.m. ET|
|Venue||UFC Apex, Las Vegas|
Two top-10 light heavyweights will headline Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card as No. 5-ranked Anthony Smith faces off against No. 9-ranked Aleksandar Rakic in a three-round main event.
Both fighters are looking to get back in the win column, but Smith is especially in need of a victory tonight. The former light heavyweight title challenger lost by TKO in May and suffered a fractured orbital bone in the process. Rakic lost by split decision to Volkan Oezdemir in December despite out-landing his opponent 75-63 in significant strikes.
Below, I break down where I see betting value based on the odds in tonight’s main event action. You can also check out my betting analysis and of all 11 bouts here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||10:12||9:58|
|Weight (pounds)||205 lbs.||205 lbs.|
|Date of birth||7/26/88||2/6/92|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.19||5.17|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||4.57||2.41|
|Take Down Avg||0.45||1.20|
Though just four years separate these two fighters, Smith’s experience can’t be overstated here. He’s a little more than one year removed from challenging Jon Jones for the light heavyweight belt and has seen just about everything a fighter can see.
Rakic has a slight reach advantage (2 inches), but his striking metrics are top tier in the division. According to UFC Stats data, He ranks fourth among active lightweights in Significant Strike Accuracy (52.3%), third in Strike Absorbed per Minute, second in Strikes Landed per Minute (5.17) and first in Striking Differential (2.76).
Smith’s last two wins (vs. Alexander Gustafsson and Oezdemir) came by way of submission, but he might have a hard time getting Rakic to the ground as he has only been taken down by an opponent twice in 17 attempts.
Smith vs. Rakic Betting Pick
You have to question Smith’s chin, just a few months after getting beaten down by Glover Teixeira on national TV.
Over 48 professional bouts, Smith has proven himself to be extremely durable, however. “Lionheart” has made it to the second round in all 12 of his UFC fights, and he hasn’t suffered a first-round knockout loss since 2011.
Rakic has nine knockout wins in 14 career fights, but his first two UFC bouts went the distance, and I don’t give him full credit for a quick victory over a chinny, since-retired Jimi Manuwa – though the highlight is still pretty sweet:
I bet Over 1.5 Rounds for the Main Event — despite the crowd suggesting that this fight will end inside the distance (projected -177).
This is only a three-round main event – rather than a five-round fight, and I trust the durability for both fighters to at least make it to the halfway mark. Either one or both could tire in the later stages, even in a three-round battle, and you could see someone fall late.
Smith went 25 minutes against Jon Jones and lasted until the fifth round against Teixeira, despite telling his corner that his teeth were falling out. I expect a more measured game plan here from Smith against another dangerous opponent after he gassed himself out early in that Teixeira fight – and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another main event go to the scorecards.
The Pick: Smith/Rakic, Over 1.5 Rounds (-167, 1 unit)