UFC Fight Night Odds, Picks & Predictions: Smith vs. Rakic
Bet of the Card: (1u) Over 1.5 Rounds @ -133 (to Return 1.75 Units)
(1u) Fight Goes the Distance @ +190 (to Return 2.9 Units)
Main Event Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 11:15 p.m. EST.
- All of Anthony Smith’s last 4 fights have gone to the over (including a five-round decision against Jon Jones), and 3 of Rakic’s 5 UFC fights have gone the distance.
I like the overs for Saturday’s main event, so I’m taking both the over 1.5 rounds and the fight to go the distance (FTGTD).
Unlike most main events, this will be a three-round contest, as opposed to five. This of course has been factored into the betting lines, but even still, there looks to be a load of value on this fight going late and even going to the scorecards.
Both these guys are as tough as they come, with Rakic only being finished once in MMA, all the way back in his first pro fight in 2011, and Smith only being finished twice over his last 19 bouts.
In Smith’s last fight, he took a brutal beating against Glover Teixeira, but it’s important to remember that he uncharacteristically gassed out early, thus opening the door for Glover to lay a prolonged beatdown on him. There may be some concern given that he took significant damage that could ultimately reduce his career longevity, but I don’t see it playing a role in this fight, given that he was TKO’ed and not outright knocked unconscious. Setting aside that result, he’s looked very good since moving up to light heavyweight (LHW), managing distance well when striking, and taking damage well from his opponents (pictured below: Anthony Smith vs. Alexander Gustafsson).
Rakic is one of the hottest prospects in what is looking like a wild and entertaining new crop of LHW fighters. His striking can be lethal, but much like Smith, he generally likes to fight a more patient and calculated style, whilst charging his opponents down from time to time. He’s very dangerous on the feet, as seen by his brutal 47 second KO over Jimi Manuwa last year, but that is somewhat of an anomaly considering he’s fought to three decisions already in the UFC.
I see this fight playing out as a steady back-and-forth striking fight, with both fighters managing the distance well and reducing the chances of any insane fight ending sequences playing out. Smith could be a serious submission threat should this fight hit the mat with him on top, but given Rakic has a sneaky good wrestling game, I find it unlikely that we’ll see that happen. This is a light heavyweight fight, so there’s plenty of room for variants, but given the lines on both the over 1.5 and FTGTD, they’re simply “must play” for me.
(1.25u) FOXBet’s Bet Boost: Sean Brady to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +260
Preliminary Card Welterweight (170lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 6:15 p.m. EST.
- Christian Aguilera has a 14-6 record, with 4 of his 6 losses coming via KO/TKO, the most recent of which came in just February of last year.
This fight opens Saturday’s card and I expect Sean Brady to make a statement big enough to get him off the early prelims for his next fight.
Sean Brady looks to be a legit undefeated 12-0 fighter, entering his third UFC fight this weekend. He’s looked seriously impressive thus far after beating savvy veteran, Court McGee in his UFC debut, and a fellow young prospect in Ismail Naurdiev. Both his previous opponents tend to have heavily wrestling focused game plans, and he manged to deal with their attempts to take the fight to the mat handily, putting up a 100% takedown defense against a combined 7 takedown attempts (per UFCStats.com).
Aguilera (pictured below) is yet another wrestler, but he’s arguably less equipped in all areas than both McGee and Naurdiev. This is understandably why we now see Brady as a -350 (best odds) favorite, as opposed to him being -190 and +110 in his last two fights respectively (per Tapology.com). Add on top that Aguilera has shown some glaring durability concerns after being finish 4 times in the first round via KO/TKO in his career, and this looks to be a smash spot to take Brady inside the distance.
Brady might not yield truly devastating power, but he does still hit hard, whilst doing so with volume and precision. I see him putting a hurting on Aguilera here, and although he may not be able to put him away with one shot, I still see Brady forcing him to crumble under his pressure and superior striking. Take Brady to win in rounds 1-3 on FOXBet’s Bet Boost, I think this is playable at +175, so it’s definitely a play at their boosted odds of +260.
(1u) FOX Bet Boost: Ion Cutelaba to Win in Rounds 1-3 @ +425
Main Card Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 9:15 p.m. EST.
- 14 of Ion Cutelaba’s 15 wins have come inside the distance, with his last 3 UFC wins all coming via first round KO/TKO.
My last bet of the card is a value punt on what looks to be a very live underdog in a crazy LHW encounter.
This is a rematch from their controversial February fight that saw 38 seconds of wild action before the referee, Kevin MacDonald, call the fight off due to Ion Cutelaba feigning to be seriously wobbled whilst standing. Of course, Cutelaba wasn’t actually hurt, but he was trying to sucker Ankalaev in, so he could then return back with one of his massive overhands. Unfortunately for Ion, it’s a risky game to play, and Kevin MacDonald believed the story that Cutelaba was trying to sell Ankalaev, which in turn lead to the fight being stopped and a TKO victory being awarded to Ankalaev.
It was a strange fight all round, and although Ankalaev looked to have been the more composed athlete, the fight wasn’t even a minute long, so it’s hard to draw any real conclusions from it. That being said, it hasn’t stopped the bookies from bumping Ankalaev up from a -210 favorite (67.7% implied chance of winning) to a -333 favorite (76.9% implied chance of winning) (best price). That is a substantial leap, especially considering that I was initially on Ankalaev in that fight, and now I find myself looking towards Cutelaba’s inside the distance prop given the current odds.
At +425, FOXBet’s Bet Boost on Ion Cutelaba to win in rounds 1-3 looks to hold solid value, especially considering his moneyline is at +270 (best odds), and we’re getting an extra 155 cents just to cut out a highly unlikely decision win. Look for Ion Cutelaba to come out swinging as always, he’s got the power to put away anyone in the LHW division, and one is all it takes, even against someone of the calibre of Magomed Ankalaev.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakić / UFC on ESPN+ 33 / UFC Vegas 8 / #UFCVegas8
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, August 29th, 2020
Start time: Main Card: 9 p.m. EST, Prelims 6 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic Main Event Prediction
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Anthony Smith vs. Aleksandar Rakic – Rakic via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic Main Card Predictions
Welterweight (170lbs): Robbie Lawler vs. Neil Magny – Magny via Decision
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Ji Yeon Kim vs. Alexa Grasso – Grasso via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Ricardo Lamas vs. Bill Algeo – Lamas via Submission
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba – Cutelaba via KO/TKO
UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic Prelim Card Predictions
Middleweight (185lbs): Maki Pitolo vs. Impa Kasanganay – Kasanganay via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Hannah Cifers vs. Mallory Martin – Cifers via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Zak Cummings vs. Alessio Di Chirico – Di Chirico via Decision
Featherweight (145lbs): Alex Caceres vs. Giga Chikadze – Chikadze via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Emily Whitmire vs. Polyana Viana – Viana via Submission
Welterweight (170lbs): Sean Brady vs. Christian Aguilera – Brady via KO/TKO
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.