Spark Sports 2020 MMA RECORD:
(Verified via OddsPortal.com)
This Saturday ‘UFC Vegas 8’ is live on ESPN+ with a very intriguing night of fights. The card is headlined by the former UFC Light Heavyweight #1 contender, Anthony Smith, as he takes on the Austrian Aleksandar Rakoc, who is looking for a bounce-back win at 205lbs. Before betting the fight, take a look at the individual betting trends for each fighter, shared here at SparkSports.
Smith vs Rakic – Betting Trends
Current Odds: Rakic (-240) vs Smith (+235)
Tale of the Tape:
The ‘Lionheart’ Anthony Smith is 32-years old, and is the much more experienced fighter, with a professional record of 33-15. Meanwhile, Alekansdar Rakic is 28 years old, with a 12-2 professional record. Smith and Rakic both stand at 6’4, however, Rakic has a two-inch reach advantage on Smith at 78″-inches.
Recent Fighter History
Anthony Smith is coming off a very disappointing loss to Glover Texiera, who mauled Smith for five rounds, picking up a 5th round stoppage victory over Smith in May of 2020. Meanwhile, since coming into the UFC in 2017, Aleksandar Rakic went 4-0, but his streak was stopped by Volkan Oezdemir in December of 2019, who beat him by split decision. It is an interesting dynamic, as both fighters are coming off losses in which they were the favored fighter, both men will be desperately looking to get back into the win column on Saturday night.
Measure of Expectation: Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith has fared moderately against his expectations over his 10+ years in professional MMA. Since 2011, Smith has a 9-7 record and has finished 6 of his last 12 fights inside the distance. Bettors who have wagered $100 on Smith to win by stoppage over his last 12 appearances have profited +$658, a net return of +$55 per fight, win or lose.
Measure of Expectation: Aleksandar Rakic
Since making his debut in the UFC back in 2017. Rakic has gone 4-1, winning 2 of those 5 fights by way of decision. Bettors who have wagered $100 on Rakic to win by decision in his five UFC fights have gone 2-3 for +$485 profit, a net return of +$97 per bet, win or lose.
Smith Fight Betting Trends
Since his UFC debut back in 2013, eight of Anthony Smith’s twelve UFC bouts have gone ‘Over’ the betting total. However, only three of those twelve fights reached the distance.
Rakic Fight Betting Trends:
Since his UFC debut in 2017, three of Aleksandar Rakic’s five fights have gone to decision, while three of the five have also gone ‘Over’ the betting total.
Division Betting Trends:
Since the start of 2019, in the UFC Men’s Light Heavyweight division, the ‘Under’ has been slightly profitable at a 32-30-1 record, for a profit of +0.91u. The favorite has won 61.9% of fights going back to 2019, going 39-23-1, but for a loss of -2.32u.
Make or break.
A big thing to remember about this bout is that, although it is the main event, both Smith and Rakic trained for a three-round fight. The headline event of this card was supposed to be between Yair Rodríguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov, however on August 5th it was announced that Rodriguez was unable to compete due to an ankle injury, this why this bout between Smith and Rakic will be only three rounds.
The reason this is so important is that Anothony Smith seems to be the kind of fighter that has ‘big fight: attention deficit disorder.’ We’ve seen in the past that Smith has had missteps in five-round fights, where he sort of lets the fight slip away. Whether he is getting too comfortable in vulnerable positions or ends up allowing his opponent to pick up easy 10-9 rounds, Smith has a tendency not to show up when the fight is longer than 15 minutes. With that being said, the shortened main event will likely be to the advantage of Anthony Smith.
I still consider Aleksandar Racic to be on a bit of a streak as far as his performance in the UFC goes, that split-decision lost against Oezdemir was suspect, and I still think he showed a lot of good form in that fight, so I still consider his stock to be sky-high at this point.
Keep it Standing
Rakic has a lot of good movement, he utilizes the low kick very well, which he’s probably going to be using quite a bit against Anthony Smith. Smith stands very heavy on his lead leg, you have to think that Rakic is going to take note of that and likely expose it.
Rakic is also a very productive counter-puncher, and has some great timing on his counter attack, he has really incredible hand speed where it’s very difficult to predict his timing of where the attack is going to come from.
I think Smith might have a bit of trouble with Rakic’s counter attack because he is a very ‘tucked up’ fighter, who fights with his hands up and almost telegraphs his attacks before carrying them out. If Smith gives out any ‘tells’ on the offensive, Rakic is going to be able to counter him with precision, and that could lead to a lot of trouble for Anthony Smith.
Smith is also quite tall and will leave a lot of body open to be attacked, especially with that ‘tucked up ‘ stance he utilizes. Rakic has a great ability to mix up his striking, and if he leads off the fight with an attack on Smith’s lead leg, he will have the opportunity to transition to attacking the body, once Smith’s rhythm is thrown off due to the low kicks he may absorb.
Now, this is not a foregone conclusion, Anthony Smith might come into his fight and impose his will on things, but it’s just really not in his character, especially at this point in his career. We’ve seen Anthony Smith let fights slip away, to either lose the fight in the later rounds, lose by decision, or turn a fight that he should have been dominating into a fight that was closer than it should have been. It’s just his nature as a fighter, he almost fights at the level of his opponent, in a sense.
Toe to Toe
I think Anthony Smith is a very talented striker, but he’s sort of stuck in this mindset of looking for the perfect shot, which takes away from his ability to turn up the volume on his opponents. This is why I don’t think Smith is going to want to stand and bang with Rakic, who he’s going to find is far more dangerous than the likes of Glover Teixeira or Alexander Gustaffson, guys he’s fought recently. I think Rakic might be on another level, as far as striking goes, and Anthony Smith is likely aware of that, or he’s gonna figure it out very quickly.
The reason I say that is because Rakic has the ability to turn up the volume if he has to, and really does his best striking off the counter-attack, which we saw against Jimmy Manuwa last year, with that very impressive first-round knockout.
The path to victory for Anthony Smith will likely be on the mat, but he will have to be very careful to not give up position when doing so, as Rakic has a devastating ground and pound attack. Smith is going to be looking to attack the neck and set up a submission. Rakic’s submission defense hasn’t really been tested in the UFC, and if anyone is going to do that, it will be Anthony Smith.
The big factor for me in this fight is that it’s just a three-round fight. If this fight was five rounds, I would probably be taking Rakic inside the distance, but from seeing the type of warrior that Anthony Smith is, and the type of heart he has, literally to the point where the MMA community was calling for his corner to be punished for not throwing in the towel when he fought Glover Teixeira. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Rakic is going to have to knock Anthony Smith out if he’s going to get a stoppage. There will be no slow roll 5th round TKO like we saw vs Teixiera, this is a 15-minute fight, and I think Smith is smart enough to evade Rakic enough not to get knocked out, but he’s not gonna win this fight keeping his mind on preventing himself from getting knocked unconscious. So I gotta go with Rakic by the decision here. The odds for Rakic on the Moneyline are almost un-bettable at -260, I don’t trust him enough to be taking that steep of a price, but I do like him by decision at +250.
As far as the total goes, I think we see this one goes to the judges, for the very reasons I explained. Rakic is a very calculated striker, so Smith is going to do everything he can to stay outside of his range, and we’ll likely see this fight go to the mat. I just think Anthony Smith is too smart to try and stand and bang with this guy, who to me, seems like he’s on a totally other level of striking than Smith is. However, I could be wrong, Smith could try to prove something, and he could very well prove me wrong and go out there and starch Rakic, but based on what I’ve seen in his last few fights, and in comparison to what I’ve seen from Aleksandar Rakic, he’s just not on the same level as Rakic when it comes to timing, hand speed, and counter-attack. So if Smith is smart, which I think he is a very high IQ fighter, then we’re gonna see this one contested mostly on the mat, and up against the cage. I think Smith is a warrior and is likely gonna take some damage, the fight’s gonna go to the judges and we’ll probably see a Rakic unanimous decision. So give me the Over 1.5 rounds prop at -150, and give me ‘Fight Goes the Distance’ at +140 as well.
Spark Sports 2020 MMA RECORD:
(Verified via OddsPortal.com)
UFC Vegas 8
Aleksandar Rakic (To Win by Decision) +240
Rakic/Smith o1.5 (-150)
Rakic/Smith (Fight Goes Distance) +140
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