Alexander Rakic is primarily known for his power, but he’s eager to show off his entire skill set, especially since Anthony Smith has referred to him as a one-dimensional fighter. The ranked light heavyweights clash in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic on Saturday in a bout that has title implications for the division. Their meeting will close the curtain on the MMA showcase from the promotion’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, with the main UFC Fight Night card set for 9 p.m. ET. Rakic said Smith’s comment simply shows he’s unaware of the No. 8-ranked Rakic’s complete body of work.
However, the fifth-ranked Smith has maintained he will have the edge as long as he eludes his opponent’s power shots. Rakic is a -270 favorite (risk $ 270 to win $ 100), down from -325, while Smith is a +220 underdog in the latest UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic odds from William Hill. In the co-main event, Neil Magny (-230) faces Robbie Lawler (+195) in a matchup of welterweight veterans. Before making any Saturday UFC Fight Night picks, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley has to say, considering the epic run he’s on.
Marley won the first-ever “ToutMaster” UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every single UFC card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past 19 months, $ 100 bettors who have followed Marley’s picks are up nearly $ 19,000. The accomplished MMA analyst has been on a rock-solid run in 2020 as he has connected on 16 of his last 20 main-event selections, a stretch that included a streak of five straight underdogs. At UFC Fight Night last Saturday, he accurately called a submission win for Joe Solecki (-105) against Austin Hubbard (-115) in a clash of lightweight prospects. Solecki controlled the action from the opening bell and soon secured a standing choke, giving Marley’s followers an easy winner. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every fight. Those selections are only available here.
Smith vs. Rakic preview
Marley knows the bout comes with a keen sense of urgency for Smith (33-15), 32, who has lost two of his past three fights in lopsided fashion. His last appearance resulted in a prolonged beating delivered by No. 4-ranked Glover Teixeira in a bout that many observers believed should have been called off long before it was brought to a merciful end early in the fifth round. Smith also was battered around the Octagon by Jones in his March 2019 title shot.
Even so, “Lionheart” showed his signature fortitude by pulling an upset of former title challenger Alexander Gustafsoon with a fourth-round submission in their June 2019 fight.
Rakic (12-2) lost his professional MMA debut before reeling off eight consecutive stoppage victories. The 28-year-old Austrian fighter made his UFC debut in September 2017 and emerged as a contender behind four straight wins, with two coming inside the distance.
His lone UFC defeat came in a controversial split decision against No. 7-ranked Volkan Oezdemir in December of last year. Still, he was signed to a new six-fight contract in February. You can see Marley’s coveted Smith vs. Rakic picks here.
Top UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic predictions
We’ll share one of Marley’s UFC Fight Night selections here: He is backing Impa Kasanganay (-130) to get his hand raised against Maki Pitolo (+110) in a clash of middleweight prospects.
Both combatants agreed to face each other on extraordinarily short turnarounds. Pitolo (13-6) fought just three weeks ago on the UFC Fight Night card headlined by heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik. The 29-year-old Hawaiian fell by submission in the first round to fellow prospect Darren Stewart to drop to 1-2 in the promotion.
He jumped at the chance to even his UFC record by taking on Kasanganay (7-0), who will be making his UFC debut on short notice. He earned a roster spot behind consecutive wins on “Dana White’s Contender Series,” the latter of which came two weeks ago. The North Carolina native defeated Anthony Adams by decision.
“Pitolo throws harder shots and is more likely to get a knockout,” Marley told SportsLine. “But Kasaganay is more likely to get takedowns, work in top control and could also outpoint Pitolo on his feet.”
How to make UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic picks
Marley also has strong picks for Smith vs. Rakic and every other bout on the UFC Fight Night card. He is also backing one “dangerous striker” to pull a monumental upset. Those selections are only available here.
Who wins Smith vs. Rakic? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic, all from the incomparable expert who’s up nearly $ 19,000 on MMA in the past 18 months and nailed 16 of the last 20 main events, and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds (via William Hill)
Aleksandar Rakic (-270) vs. Anthony Smith (+220)
Neil Magny (-230) vs. Robbie Lawler (+195)
Alexa Grasso (-310) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (+255)
Magomed Ankalaev (-350) vs. Ion Cutelaba (+290)
Impa Kasanganay (-130) vs. Maki Pitolo (+110)
Mallory Martin (-300) vs. Hannah Cifers (+250)
Alessio Di Chirico (-120) vs. Zak Cummings (+100)
Giga Chikadze (-240) vs. Alex Caceres (+200)
Polyana Viana (-110) vs. Emily Whitmire (-110)
Sean Brady (-380) vs. Christian Aguilera (+310)
Alex Caceres (TBA) vs. Austin Springer (TBA)