UFC Fight Night 175: Smith vs. Rakic Odds, Schedule, Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2020

Anthony Smith, right, hits Jon Jones during a light heavyweight mixed martial arts title bout at UFC 235, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic meet in an important light heavyweight contest to close out UFC Fight Night 175 from the APEX Facility in Las Vegas. 

This is Smith's first appearance since a brutal loss to Glover Teixeira. The 205er's loss drew plenty of attention after his corner refused to stop the fight as he took on massive punishment. Rakic will look to bounce back from his first loss since his professional debut at the hands of Volkan Oezdemir. 

The event on ESPN+ also features the return of fan-favorite and all-around brawler Robbie Lawler. He'll fight Neil Magny in an intriguing welterweight affair. 

Elsewhere on the card, Alexa Grasso will make her flyweight debut. After struggling to make the 115-pound limit at strawweight, she is moving up and excited to try out a new home against Ji Yeon Kim. 

Here's a look at the complete offering as well as the latest odds, along with a preview and predictions for the biggest fights of the night. 


Main Card (ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET)

  • Anthony Smith (+240; $100 bet wins $240) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (-280; bet $280 to win $100)
  • Robbie Lawler (+200) vs. Neil Magny (-240)
  • Alexa Grasso (-300) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (+250)
  • Bill Algeo (+250) vs. Ricardo Lamas (-300)
  • Magomed Ankalaev (-320) vs. Ion Cutelaba (+260)

Preliminary Card (ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET)

  • Impa Kasanganay (-130) vs. Maki Pitolo (+110)
  • Zak Cummings (-105) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (-115)
  • Alex Caceres (N/A) vs. Austin Springer (N/A)
  • Christian Aguilera (+340) vs. Sean Brady (-420)
  • Polyana Viana (+120) vs. Emily Whitmire (-140)
  • Hannah Cifers (+255) vs. Mallory Martin (-310)

Odds via Caesars Palace


Rakic Looks to Get Back on Track

Depending on who you ask, Rakic has no need to "get back on track" Saturday. He beat Volkan Oezdemir, yet his official record has an "L" next to the contest. 

According to MMADecisions.com, only one member of the media scored the fight for Oezdemir. Yet "No Time" convinced two of the three people whose opinions on the subject actually matter en route to a split decision win. 

Regardless, the Austrian experienced a loss for the first time since October 2011 and should be anxious to get back in the win column. If he does, it'll be against his toughest test yet. Smith lives up to his Lionheart moniker in the cage and matches his toughness with a broad array of strikes. 

Finishing Smith isn't an easy task. Glover Teixeira was able to do it in the latter rounds of their fight, but it's important to note that Smith was winning that fight through the early rounds. Smith is as skilled as they come in the division. 

That being said, Rakic appears to be a rising star. He stays busy with volume but throws with consequential power. His head kick knockout against Jimi Manuwa was a devastating example of how he can end a fight at any moment. 

It will take more than that to knockout Smith, but there should be concerns for how much punishment Smith can take just three-and-a-half months from his loss to Teixeira. He absorbed a lot of damage in a fight that was an absolute war. 

Returning that quickly after suffering that kind of damage is the kind of thing that could carry over into the next fight. Under normal circumstances, Smith might be able to outlast Rakic and stun him in the championship rounds. 

That's not the case here. 

Prediction: Rakic via second-round TKO


Magny Adds Big Name to Resume

Neil Magny feels like a fighter who has been on the UFC roster for 20 years. Robbie Lawler actually is a fighter who has been on the roster for nearly 20 years. 

Magny has been fighting in the UFC since 2013. Yet he's never been able to break through to true contention in the welterweight division. Lawler made his UFC debut in 2002 as a 20-year-old before becoming a Strikeforce star and eventually coming back to the UFC and capturing the welterweight title. 

Lawler isn't the same fighter that he once was, but this will give Magny a chance to add another impressive name to his list of vanquished foes. That list currently includes the likes of Kelvin Gastelum, Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit. 

Magny is a good pressure fighter who looks to overwhelm with volume. Against a prime Lawler, that would be a recipe for disaster, as he is adept at counter-striking. While there's still some risk there, Lawler has lost three straight fights and doesn't seem to have the same quick trigger that he enjoyed in his prime. 

This fight should mostly take place on the feet, but Magny has his wrestling to fall back on. His jab has improved throughout his career, and it could be an important tool in this fight as he can build the rest of his game off it and keep the pressure on Lawler. 

Lawler still has a surprisingly good chin, so knocking him out will be challenging. However, Magny should be able to control the flow and pace of this fight and win it on account of his volume, combination punching and length.

Prediction: Magny via decision


Ankalaev and Cutelaba Have All the Makings for Fight of the Night

In February, Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba fought for a glorious 38 seconds before one of the more controversial stoppages in recent memory took place. 

After a bitter lead up to the fight, both fighters came out guns blazing, and Ankalaev connected with a head kick as well as two hooks that appeared to have shaken Cutelaba. However, it also appeared Cutelaba was playing up the effect of the kicks as he was still firing heavy leather in return. 

The referee still stepped in to bring the fight to a premature conclusion. 

Now, the two get the chance to settle their differences. While the fight might not last much longer than the first, the one thing that is clear after watching these two fight once is that both will be looking to score the finish early and often. 

Ankalaev comes in as a fairly heavy favorite, but Cutelaba shouldn't be discounted. He is a kill or be killed kind of fighter who has a puncher's chance no matter who he is fighting. 

Ultimately, the more technical Ankalaev should hold the upper hand. But it's going to be a fun fight no matter who gets his hand raised. 

Prediction: Ankalaev via first-round TKO