UFC Vegas 8: Smith vs. Rakic ​​- Main Fight Preview

Following the endless marathon of events that will last until the end of the year, the UFC follows its comfortable stay in the city of Las Vegas to hold another event in the city of sin. This is UFC Vegas 8 , which will be held at UFC Apex, the training center of the largest MMA organization in the world.

In the main event of the evening, former category challenger Anthony Smith is looking for a new chance to fight for the title with Jon Jones leaving the division. Therefore, he faces the ascendant Aleksandar Rakic in a duel valid for three rounds, which should put the winner close to a future chance for light heavyweight gold.

In the second highlight of the night, the interminable Robbie Lawler tries to prove that he still has gas in his tank when facing Neil Magny by the welterweight category. Another interesting duel is for the fight between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba , for the light heavyweight division.

For a long time an irrelevant middleweight, Anthony Smith's career (33-15 in MMA, 8-4 in the UFC) changed considerably with the move to the under-93kg category. Victories over veterans Mauricio Shogun and Rashad Evans were not foreseen but neither are they very exciting, however, triumphs over Volkan Oezdemir and Alexander Gustafsson are victories against hitherto elite members of the division. His only two losses in the category were to Jon Jones, when he disputed the division's belt, and to Glover Teixeira, who beat him mercilessly in May this year.

Very experienced with almost 50 fights in his professional career, Smith is a very skittish fighter who knows when to prioritize striking or playing solo according to his opponent. With limited technique but a lot of race, Smith is also known for his resilience. In striking, he usually uses punches in sequence when he sees breaches in the opponent's defense, while on the ground he takes a lot of risks with his black jiu-jitsu belt and has already shown that within this category he has a good enough ground level to take danger. Defensive and conditioning problems have always existed, even though the latter is more mitigated with the slightest cut in weight.

One of the good prospects that emerged recently, the Austrian Aleksandar Rakic ​​(12-2 in MMA, 4-1 in the UFC) had a half-assed debut against Francimar Boneteo, where he could have shown much more. After the fight against the Brazilian he won two more fights, reaching the biggest challenge in his career against Jimi Manuwa and passing with praise, applying one of the most beautiful high kick knockouts of recent times. His last appearance in the octagon was just last year, in December, losing a fight to Volkan Oezdemir only in a controversial split decision.

Athletic, tall and of good stature, Rakic ​​is, above all, a fighter with total preference for standing up. Based on muay thai , it is the short but powerful sequences that are most used by Aleksandar. The main Austrian weapon in combat is kicks, applied to both the head and legs of the opponent, causing a lot of damage. The ground and pound is good, but the game of falls is based much more on strength than on technique. The defense is not good, often having trouble getting it back to the right speed. There is also often a lack of a sense of urgency for Rakic ​​to define the fighting.

I don't know if Rakic ​​really lost against Oezdemir, as it was a tough fight and the Austrian didn't perform so badly. Now, Smith worries a lot about the terrible fight he had against Glover Teixeira, dying in the gas and getting beaten up a lot. As the fight will be in three rounds only, Smith may not suffer from the conditioning, but he is still at a technical disadvantage. If everything goes as expected Rakic ​​should guarantee a victory in the judges' decision.