Another Fight Night is here and for mine it is one of the most intriguing, especially from a betting standpoint that there has been in recent times. Two Light Heavyweights headline the card as Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith faces off against Aleksander Rakic. Also on the card are Dana White Contender Series prospects, littered amongst former and future title contenders.
Add into the mix plenty of value to be had in method of victory markets and this card looks like one we can enjoy start to finish and make some money on. Once again this event will take place from the UFC Apex Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada and we dive into some key match ups and betting angles below.
This is a massive fight for both men who come into this fight off a loss. Smith lost in a horrific way to Glover Teixeira in a bout that went way too long as he was left outworked and outgunned by the veteran after a promising first round. Lionheart has shown plenty of talent submitting the likes of Volkan Oezdemir and Alexander Gustafsson either side of his five round decision loss to Jon Jones and he will be desperate to make amends for his last fight failure. His opponent Aleksander Rakic is a force to be reckoned with on the feet, knocking out both Devin Clark and Jimi Manuwa in round 1 before losing a controversial decision to Volkan Oezdemir. Where this match up favours Smith is, he is such a tough man to finish and the market has grossly overreacted to his loss to Teixeira.
Rakic is his devastating best early and has yet to see five rounds in his professional career and with Smith’s durable chin if he can see off the opening two rounds, he is a great chance to get the win. I don’t see Rakic having an advantage on the mat and I am sure Smith has put in a lot of work into the cardio inefficiency that plagued him in his last fight. I was originally inclined to just sit out and watch this rather than tip it but with the odds on offer for Smith I am enticed to back him to get this win and even a small go on the $12 on offer to earn a submission over a man who has been submitted before in one of his only two losses looks overs as well.
With the failing of Mariya Agapova as an overwhelming favourite last week you wouldn’t think I would go back to the well on another Women’s Flyweight favourite this week but that is exactly what I am doing. Although the $1.30 mark looks to be well short on value, Alexa Grasso is better everywhere and other than a flash knockout, which looks incredibly unlikely, I do not see how Ji Yeon Kim can win this fight. Grasso was 9-0 to start her career but now sees herself with an 11-3 record after losses to Carla Esparza, Felice Herrig and Tatiana Suarez. All three showcased Grasso’s vulnerability to volume wrestlers but she won’t have a problem here against Kim who has limited wrestling chops. Grasso showed how elite her striking is against a top-level striker in Karolina Kowalkiewicz and has the jiu jitsu to threaten Ji Yeon Kim on the mat. Grasso should control this fight for as long as it goes and get a dominant victory.
We see a rematch here after one of the worst stoppages ever called brought a halt to their first fight 38 seconds into their first fight. Ankalaev is the better, more complete fighter but $5 for Cutelaba to earn the KO is madness. He throws each shot with all he has and only needs to connect to the chin once to put Ankalaev out. All bar one of Cutelaba’s wins comes by the form of knockout and chances are this fight will be full of wild, reckless exchanges for as long as it lasts and all we need is for Cutelaba to land that big shot to get the win. It must also be noted he steamrolled Khalil Rountree in round 1 in his fight before Ankalaev and had Glover Teixeria in all sorts of trouble before that before he was submitted.
Polyana Viana has been incredibly underwhelming in her UFC tenure since winning by rear naked choke in the first round in her UFC debut. Since then she has dropped her last three in what have been very disappointing displays. Her grappling credentials are elite as she was a bjj champion back in 2015 and held numerous state championships in bjj before solely focussing on MMA. Whitmire has shown poor submission defense so far in her UFC career so she is there for the taking if Viana comes into this fight well prepared and shows what she is capable of on the ground. At $6 it is worth finding out.
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