UFC Fight Night predictions — Anthony Smith vs. Aleksandar Rakic: Fight card, start time, odds, live stream


Heading into his most recent fight, Anthony Smith was seeking to keep his name in the UFC light heavyweight title picture. But things went south in a hurry when Smith was battered before a long-overdue TKO stoppage at the fists of Glover Teixeira. Saturday, at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas’ UFC Apex facility, Smith will battle rising contender Aleksandar Rakic in a fight that increased significantly in importance when Jon Jones left the division.

Smith (33-15) was one of the best stories in the sport in 2018. He exploded into the title picture with three wins to land himself in a title bout with Jones. Jones dominated the fight, and had he stuck around in the division, Smith would be unlikely to see another title shot. But with Jones vacating the championship to move up to heavyweight, there’s potential for anyone to land in a title fight with a run of wins.

After losing his pro debut, Rakic (12-2) rattled off 12 consecutive victories. That number should sit at 13, by most accounts, but in his most recent fight, Rakic lost a controversial split decision to Volkan Oezdemir. Prior to the loss, Rakic had won four straight in the UFC Octagon, including two consecutive fights by knockout.

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The co-main event features a legend making his return to the Octagon. Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler is back when he takes on Neil Magny in a pivotal matchup at 170 pounds. Lawler has fallen on hard times since dropping the belt to Tyron Woodley in 2016, losing three in a row after a decision win over Donald Cerrone. He has faced elite competition in those bouts, but things don’t get any easier with Magny staring across the cage. Magny has won two in a row since returning from a USADA suspension and is looking to get back into the top 10 rankings with a win.

Also on the card is UFC veteran Ricardo Lamas in his first bout since June 2019. Lamas, 38, has struggled of late with just one win in his last four fights. Although he’s been facing elite competition in those bouts, he desperately needs a win on Saturday to right the ship. He gets a short notice opponent in Billy Algeo after Ryan Hall was forced to withdraw with injury. Algeo will be making his UFC debut after winning five of his last six fights. His lone loss came in his attempt to earn a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series.

The card was also expected to feature the much anticipated rematch between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba. However, Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and was forced to withdraw. This is the second time in two weeks that the fight was supposed to be booked with Cutelaba testing positive in both instances. Ankalaev won the first meeting somewhat controversially by first-round TKO when the referee stepped in to stop the fight while Cutelaba was wobbled while still standing.

Here’s the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.

UFC Fight Night card, odds

Aleksandar Rakic -270

Anthony Smith +220

Light heavyweight

Neil Magny -260

Robbie Lawler +210

Welterweight

Alexa Grasso -310

Ji Yeon Kim +250

Women’s flyweight

Ricardo Lamas -310 Bill Algeo +250 Featherweight

UFC Fight Night viewing information

Date: Aug. 29 | Start time: 9 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: UFC APEX — Las Vegas
Stream: ESPN+

Prediction

Aleksandar Rakic vs. Anthony Smith: Smith always shows tons of heart in his fights, and that was true against Teixeira in his most recent outing. But also true is that Smith looked like a long career featuring a lot of punishment had caught up to him. Rakic is a fighter on the rise, and should be riding a 13-fight winning streak. That’s a lot of momentum to carry into a fight with someone who took a ton of punishment just a few months ago. I don’t expect Smith to go down easy, but it feels like a long shot that he’ll come out of this with a victory. Pick: Aleksandar Rakic via UD 

Who will win Smith vs. Rakic, and how exactly will each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight, all from the incomparable expert who’s up almost $19,000 on MMA picks in the past 18 months and nailed 16 of the last 20 main events.





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