Saturday night we’re in for another exciting edition of UFC Fight Night on ESPN+. The main event will be between fighters from the light heavyweight division, Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic. It will be exciting to see another bout between a seasoned veteran and a rising star. In the last two Fight Nights, we have seen the old dogs like Derek Brunson and Frankie Edgar beat their younger opponents. We’ll see if Smith can keep it going and bring home a win for the old guard. Visit our sportsbook to place your bet on this fight and more on our UFC betting lines page.
Anthony Smith (33-15-0) vs Aleksandar Rakic (12-2-0)
Betting Line: Smith (+210); Rakic (-280)
It’s obvious looking at Anthony Smith’s record that this light heavyweight has been around the block more than a few times. A former title challenger, he’ll come into this fight ranked at No. 5.
Also known as Lionheart, he’ll be representing his team FactoryX Muay Thai. At 32, he’s in the prime of his career. It will be his second fight of 2020 and he’ll be hungry for a win after getting knocked out by No. 4 ranked Glover Texeira on May 13.
He’s gone 3-2 during his last five fights, winning twice by submission and once by KO/TKO. He lost on March 2, 2019, during a title fight to Jon Jones. Despite the recent losses, he’s still one of the best fighters in his division and there’s little doubt he will give the favorite a hard battle.
Both of these fighters are 6-foot-4 and weighed in at 205 pounds each. They are similar in stature although Rakic has a two-inch reach advantage. Where you see a pretty big difference between them is their signature strokes per minute. Smith averages 3.19; Rakic is averaging 5.17. Rakic is also more accurate, his strike accuracy is 52.33% while Smith’s is 46.52%.
Rakic, who is 28 and from Austria, will come into this fight as the No. 8 fighter in the light heavyweight division. His last fight, also a loss like Smith, came at the hands of Volkan Oezdemir on Dec. 21. It’s been a long time since then so we’ll see how he performs after a prolonged absence.
His overall record is quite impressive. Until December he hadn’t lost a single fight since October 2011, which was his UFC debut. Since then he’s methodically climbed the rankings beating his opponents almost exclusively by KOs and TKOs. He’s won once by submission and twice by unanimous decision.
Rakic will try and use the bit of extra length he has over Smith in order to deliver his signature strikes, hoping to knock out his opponent. Overall, these fighters are closely matched and it will come down to strategy and experience to determine the winner.
UFC Fight Night Free Pick: Anthony Smith +210
Once again, we are going with the underdog. There’s something in the air this year with experienced veterans putting young guns in their place. We’ve seen this happen two Fight Nights in a row and it wouldn’t be a shocker to see the higher-ranked Smith put Racic in his place.
Robbie Lawler (28-14-0) vs Neil Magny (23-8-0)
Betting Line: Lawler (+205); Magny (-255)
The co-main will feature evenly matched fighters in the welterweight division, Lawler and Magny.
Robbie Lawler, also known as “Ruthless,” is coming into this fight ranked No. 13. The former welterweight champion has been on a bit of a losing streak since he lost his title to Tyron Woodley in July 2016. Since he’s had four UFC bouts and lost three in a row. Keep in mind that out of the last three losses, two were by unanimous decision.
His last fight was Aug. 3, 2019, so it’s been over a year since he’s had a UFC match. The 38-year-old has a lot left in him and is evenly matched with Magny.
Lawler is 5-foot-11, weighs 170 pounds, and has a 74-inch reach. Magny will have a size advantage; he’s 6-foot-3 and has an impressive 80-inch reach. We’ll see if the extra length will end up coming into play Saturday night or not.
Although Magny, also known as “The Haitian Sensation.” hasn’t had a chance at a title he’s experienced and has been rising in rank steadily. Despite the difference in experience at the elite level when compared with Lawler, this 33-year-old old fighter has won four of his last five matches. Three of those wins were by unanimous decision, which means we could see this match go all five rounds. He’s ranked No. 14, behind Lawler.
Both fighters have fairly similar significant strikes per minute. Lawler averages 3.57 with 45% accuracy and Magny averages 3.95 with 47% accuracy. On paper the main difference is Magny averages 2.55 takedowns per every 15 minutes while Lawler tends to stick to striking, only averaging .71 takedowns per every 15 minutes
This is a tough one because Lawler seems overdue, but on the other hand, Magny has been on a roll. They are side by side in their rankings and both fighters are quite experienced.
BetUS Free Pick: Neil Magny -255
Magny will use his extra height and reach to distance himself from Lawler, who is overall the better boxer. This fight is likely going to go to a decision and if Magny plays his cards right and fights strategically playing to his physical advantage, he will take this one.
Keep checking our MMA news page for the latest updates as we get close to another exciting night of UFC.