The UFC returns to Stockholm for UFC Fight Night 153 or UFC on ESPN+ 11 on June 1, 2019 at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden.

Three light heavyweight matches will topbill the event including the main event between local hero Alexander Gustafsson who will take on Anthony Smith in a five-rounder.

“Fighting" Alexander Gustafsson vs Anthony Smith

Gustafsson looks to rebound after suffering a one-sided loss at the hands of Jon Jones at UFC 232 last December. It was his second loss to Jones after he took Bones to the limit during their first meeting in 2013 which was 2013 Fight of the Year. That 2013 bout has been his ticket to stardom but Gus has been 3-3 after that defeat. The Swedish Mauler has a record of 18-5 with 11 knockouts and 3 submission wins. Gus stands 6-5 with a reach of 79 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Gustafsson

-165

Smith

+205

Odds from Bovada as of 5/17/19

Smith is also coming off a loss to Jon Jones. Lionheart lost by decision to Bones at UFC 235 last March. Prior to that, Smith had stoppage wins over Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua and Volkan Oezdemir. Smith is 31-14 with 17 knockouts and 11 submissions. He stands 6-4 with a reach of 74 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

Gustafsson is the fancied fighter here and is the better fighter when it comes to volume of strikes and strike defense. The Swedish Mauler also has better grappling numbers than Anthony Smith. But Smith isn’t Lionheart for nothing. He’s a fighter who makes up for his deficiencies in skill with a lot of hard work and heart. Gustafsson has lost the big fights of his career. This isn’t one of them but Smith has a chance to get the biggest win of his UFC career. No doubt Lionheart is hungry and I’m not sure what Gustafsson’s motivation is except that he’s fighting at home. In one of his headliners in Stockholm, he was knocked out by Rumble Johnson. I don’t think Smith has the power of Rumble but again, Gustafsson has been very vulnerable lately.

Lionheart is the biggest underdog in this card when you look at the other odds in the other bouts. But I don’t think this is that much of a mismatch. I think Smith has a real chance here. Gus has been stopped thrice in his five losses. Given how Smith survived Jones how he fought Bones, I think he has a fighting chance. I’ll take the plus money here and go with the underdog. Prediction: Anthony Smith

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“Fighting" Volkan Oezdemir vs Ilir Latifi

Oezdemir had a hot start winning his first three UFC bouts including two within 45 seconds. That streak earned him a title shot against Daniel Cormier but DC knocked him out in the second round. In his next fight, he was submitted by Anthony Smith and then he lost to Dominick Reyes by split decision in his most recent outing. Oezdemir has a record of 15-4 with 11 knockouts and 1 submission victory. He stands 6-2 and has a reach of 75 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Oezdemir

-225

Latifi

+175

Odds from Bovada as of 5/17/19

Latifi is also coming off a defeat. The Swede was on the wrong end of a decision against Corey Anderson at UFC 232 last December. Prior to that loss, Latifi won five out of his last six bouts. Latifi is 14-6-0-1 with 5 knockouts and 5 wins by way of submission. The Sledgehammer stands 5-10 with a reach of 73 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

Latifi is a compact fighter, much like Yoel Romero and he has a good takedown game with excellent takedown defense. However none of those aren’t going to matter against Oezdemir who will want to keep this fight on the feet where he has the advantage in speed and volume. Both have knockout power and I’m not sure who hits harder. But given Oezdemir’s advantage in height and reach, he won’t be easy to hit for Latifi without the latter getting nailed first. Prediction: Volkan Oezdemir

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“Fighting" Aleksandar Rakic vs Jimi Manuwa

Rakic lost his professional MMA debut in 2011 but has won 11 straight bouts since then. Since coming over to the UFC in 2017, he’s picked up a 3-0 record and is coming off a first-round knockout win over Devin Clark at UFC 231. Rakic is 6-4 with a reach of 78 inches and fights as an orthodox. His record is 11-1 with 8 knockouts and 1 submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Rakic

-260

Manuwa

+200

Odds from Bovada as of 5/17/19

Manuwa is 17-5 with 15 knockouts. Poster Boy is coming off three straight losses inside the octagon, having lost to Volkan Oezdemir, Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos. Prior to those, he won back to back bouts against Ovince Saint Preux and Corey Anderson. Manuwa stands 6-1 with a reach of 79 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter.

This is going to be a bang affair with two heavy hitters going at it Manuwa has one-punch knockout power and is a live betting underdog here. But Rakic isn’t just a power puncher, he is also a volume striker (5.31 significant strikes per minute) who has a takedown game ( 1.32 takedowns per 15 minutes on 60% accuracy). Manuwa is also 39 years old and is on a rough patch right now. If Rakic avoids getting nailed with a big punch, this is going to be his biggest win in the UFC so far. Prediction: Aleksandar Rakic

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“Fighting" Tonya Evinger vs Lina Lansberg

Evinger is the UFC’s #12 ranked female bantamweight. The former Invicta FC bantamweight champion hasn’t had the best of runs in the UFC. She lost her promotional debut to Cris Cyborg in a featherweight bout and then suffered a serious knee injury that needed surgery. She returned at UFC 229, only to be knocked out by Aspen Ladd in the first round. Evinger is 18-7-0-1 with 8 knockouts and 7 submissions. She stands 5-7 with a reach of 70 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Evinger

-160

Lansberg

+130

Odds from Bovada as of 5/17/19

Lansberg is a former two-time Muay Thai World Champion who was also a local MMA champion in Sweden. The 37-year old Swede has also had a rough start in her UFC career, going 2-3 with losses to Cris Cyborg, Aspen Ladd and Yana Kunitskaya. Lansberg has a record of 8-4-0 with four knockouts. She stands 5-7 and has a reach of 65 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

I don’t expect this fight to go to the ground with both fighters known as strikers. Lansberg appears to be the better striker with her Muay Thai background but she is giving up five inches in reach to Evinger who is a veteran who has seen it all. Both are 37 years old but I think Evinger has the experience to keep out of harm’s way. Lansberg has been knocked out thrice while Evinger has lost her last two bouts by knockouts. I think this will not go the distance and am giving the edge to Evinger because of length and experience. Prediction: Tonya Evinger

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“Fighting" Leonardo Santos vs Stevie Ray

Leonardo Santos finally returns to the octagon at UFC Stockholm but it will be 967 days after his last win. The 39-year old winner of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil has dealt with several injuries the past two years. He is unbeaten in his last 11 fights with wins over Kevin Lee and Anthony Rocco Martin. Santos stands 6-0 with a reach of 75 inches while fighting as an orthodox. His record is 16-4-1 with 9 submissions and 2 knockouts.

What are the Moneyline Odds?

Santos

-225

Ray

+175

Odds from Bovada as of 5/17/19

Stevie Ray is a Cage Warriors former lightweight champion who joined the UFC in 2015. He has a 6-3 record inside the octagon and is coming off a win over Jessin Ayari at UFC Moncton after suffering losses to Paul Felder and Kajan Johnson. Ray is 22-8-0 with 6 knockouts and 8 submission wins. He stands 5-10 with a reach of 70 inches while fighting as a southpaw.

Santos is a world champion grappler and should have no problem handling Stevie Ray on the ground. Ray’s takedown defense is shaky at 55% and Santos should take advantage of that. The problem here is Santos hasn’t fought in over two years while Ray has fought five times over that period. Ring rust will be an issue but Santos is going to win this grappling match. Prediction: Leonardo Santos

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