Aleksandar Rakic picked up a convincing win over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC Fight Night 175 in an important light heavyweight showdown.
Both fighters came out throwing leg kicks in the opening moments of the fight. However, it was Rakic who landed the most meaningful of the blows. His leg kick put Smith on the mat, where Rakic went to work with his top game for a good chunk of the first round.
Rakic once again got to utilize his top game in the second frame. After briefly clinching with Lionheart, he threw the former title challenger to the mat and smothered him on the ground. According to the broadcast, the Austrian spent all but 30 seconds of the frame in control on the mat.
Opening up the third round, Rakic showcased a little bit of the relentless striking that has made him a notable rising contender in the light heavyweight division. However, it soon gave way to more of his ground control and wrestling.
It may not have been the most entertaining showing from the 28-year-old, but it was the biggest win of his burgeoning career. Smith is a wily veteran who is as tough as they come and has championship fight experience.
Rakic announced himself as a potential future title challenger with a thorough win in the main event.
Here's a look at the complete results from Las Vegas and a look at the rest of the main card fights.
- Aleksandar Rakic def. Anthony Smith via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27 x2)
- Neil Magny def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Alexa Grasso def. Ji Yeon Kim via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Ricardo Lamas def. Billy Algeo via unanimous decision (29-27 x3)
- Impa Kasanganay def. Maki Pitolo via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Zak Cummings def. Alessio Di Chirico via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Alex Caceres def. Austin Springer via submission (RNC) at 3:38 of Round 1
- Sean Brady def. Christian Aguilera via submission (guillotine) at 1:47 of Round 2
- Polyana Viana def. Emily Whitmire via submisssion (armbar) at 1:53 of Round 1
- Mallory Martin def. Hannah Cifers via submission (RNC) at 1:33 of Round 2
Neil Magny def. Robbie Lawler
The co-main event was all Neil Magny. Facing a matchup with the ever-dangerous Robbie Lawler, The Haitian Sensation employed a heavy-grappling approach that stifled his opponent over the course of all three rounds.
Whether it was in the clinch, on the ground or in the standup, Magny stayed right in front of Lawler. The gameplan was frustrating to watch at times, but was undoubtedly effective. Lawler was neutralized throughout the bout and Magny picked up his 17th win in the welterweight division.
As Mike Bohn of MMAjunkie noted, that number moved him over Matt Hughes for second all-time in the history of the division.
Magny has never been elevated to official title contender. Yet, he continues to be a tough out for anyone. His volume and cardio are difficult for anyone to handle and his handling of a dangerous fighter like Lawler is just the latest example.
Alexa Grasso def. Ji Yeon Kim
Fighting with an additional 10 pounds didn't seem to slow down Alexa Grasso as she was successful in her first fight as a flyweight. She took a comprehensive unanimous decision from Ji Yeon Kim with a clean sweep on all three judges' scorecards.
Grasso moved up a division after spending her career to this point as a strawweight. She utilized her speed and boxing to build a lead over her opponent, as she didn't appear to lose any of her speed while cutting significantly less weight in the lead-up to the bout.
When Grasso was the initiator, she disrupted Kim with sharp combinations. When Kim tried to be the aggressor, she was ready with counters in all situations.
Grasso put on the finishing touches in the third round with a takedown for good measure, showing that she can do a little grappling too.
The win will likely give her a new permanent home. The 27-year-old started her career with a good run in Invicta and looked promising in her UFC debut but, a 2-3 stretch really took off her shine as a prospect.
With a smaller weight cut while retaining her speed and sharp boxing, she may be a real threat in the flyweight division.
Ricardo Lamas def. Bill Algeo
Bill Algeo was forced to make his UFC debut on short-notice against one of the most experienced veterans in the featherweight division in Ricardo Lamas. He didn't win it but he still proved he belonged in the process.
Lamas and Algeo engaged in a three-round thriller as bother fighters had their moments. Algeo notably landed a massive knee that had Lamas reeling, but his veteran savvy and tenacity kept him coming forward.
His best round would come in the third and final frame as he was able to get on top of Algeo and rain down ground-and-pound in search of a stoppage.
After the bout Lamas admitted that he is considering retirement. At 38 years old, he has been fighting in the UFC since 2011 and has been a consistent force in the featherweight division. He never has quite elevated himself to champion status but has put together a solid career including wins over Cub Swanson, Diego Sanchez and Charles Oliveira.