UFC on ESPN+ 33 Betting Breakdown: Anthony Smith vs. Aleksandar Rakic


MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 33, a three-round light heavyweight bout between Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith. The event takes place on Saturday, August 29 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Aleksandar Rakic (-280)

Rakic (12-2) is the No. 8 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 28-year-old Austria native is 4-1 overall in the UFC with notable wins to Jimi Manuwa and Devin Clark and a loss to Volkan Oezdemir via split decision in his last outing. He is a knockout artist, with nine TKO wins in his MMA career out of 12 wins overall. Prior to the Oezdemir fight, Rakic had won 12 straight fights and was quickly becoming a serious contender at 205lbs. In the fight with Oezdemir, Rakic wasn’t able to get the finish and slowed down as the fight wore on. He is a guy who is super dangerous early on in his fights and he’s young so he can improve, but the fight with Oezdemir certainly has to make you wonder if Rakic is truly an elite talent or if he’s more of a middle-of-the-pack light heavyweight.

Anthony Smith (+240)

Smith (33-15) is the No. 5 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 32-year-old American has a 8-5 overall record in the UFC including a 4-2 mark at 205lbs. Smith has fought many of the best fighters in the world, and he owns notable wins over Volkan Oezdemir, Alexander Gustafsson, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Hector Lombard, with notable losses to Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira. After moving up to light heavyweight in 2018, Smith went on a run and fought Jones for the belt. He lost that fight but bounced back with an upset win over Gustafsson only to get smashed by Teixeira in his last outing. With 30 career finishes, Smith is an incredibly-dangerous fighter but he’s also been finished 13 times himself. Coming off that brutal loss to Teixeira, this is a make-it-or-break-it fight for Smith.

Fight Breakdown: This should be a really good fight between two of the top-10 ranked light heavyweights in the UFC. With Rakic, he has mostly been impressive throughout his UFC run, but his best performances came when he fought mid-tier opposition. Once he fought a top opponent in Oezdemir, he showed some holes in his game. As for Smith, he has fought much tougher competition in the UFC and has been mostly successful, but he is coming off of such a brutal TKO loss to Glover Teixeira that it’s hard to know how it affected his career. I have to admit, after Smith’s loss to Teixeira I didn’t see him fighting again for a long time, so I’m surprised he’s taking this fight so soon. Rakic is a guy I am very high on and he has the skills to beat Smith in this fight. But the odds don’t reflect how competitive this fight could be if we get a better version of Smith here. I’m not completely convinced he’s a shot fighter just yet and I believe that Smith has what it takes to win this fight. The last three UFC events saw underdogs get their hand raised and I think this is another spot where a dog can win. I see Smith outlasting Rakic early to take over late and get a TKO finish.

Prediction: Anthony Smith wins via TKO

Written by Adam Martin.


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