Light Heavyweights take the center stage when the UFC returns to action this weekend for UFC Las Vegas 8 as contenders Anthony Smith takes on Aleksandar Rakic in the main event of the August 29, 2020 affair at the UFC’s APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Smith is looking to bounce back after suffering a deflating loss to Glover Teixeira. Rakic is on the rise but he too is coming off a loss to Volkan Oezdemir last December.

Let’s take a look at the fights on the main card and pick our winners:

“Fighting" Anthony Smith vs Aleksandar Rakic

Anthony Smith is the 5th ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. Known as Lionheart, the 32-year old from Corpus Christi in Texas is a former Cage Fury FC middleweight champion and Victory FC middleweight champion. Smith challenged for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 235 but lost a decision to Jon Jones. He is 6-4 tall with a reach of 76 inches and is an orthodox fighter. Lionheart has a record of 33-15 with 18 knockouts and 12 wins via submission. In his last bout, Smith suffered a fifth-round knockout loss to Glover Teixeira.

Aleksandar Rakic is the 8th ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 28-year old from Vienna, Austria competed for Final Fight Championship and Austrian Fight Challenge before joining the UFC in 2017. Rakic won his first four UFC assignments before suffering a split decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir in his last bout. Rakic is 6-4 tall with a reach of 78 inches and is an orthodox fighter. He has a record of 12-2 with nine knockouts and one win via submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 08/28/2020

Smith has cashed in on many underdog roles in the past and because you’re getting twice as much money on him here makes him a very intriguing pick. Lionheart also has an advantage in experience and he has fought much better competition. Rakic is an up and coming star but he is unproven and he hasn’t beaten an elite fighter in his prime. Not that Smith is one but Lionheart has been in bigger fights before so he won’t be rattled here. But Smith is coming off a tough loss to Glover Teixeira and I’m not sure if Rakic is the right bounce back fight for him. Rakic is a power puncher who has excellent conditioning and a variety of kicks that can hurt his opponent. I like Smith a lot but I think this is just the wrong timing here.

Prediction: Aleksandr Rakic

“Fighting" Robbie Lawler vs Neil Magny

Robbie Lawler is the former UFC welterweight champion and former Elite XC middleweight champion who also fought for Strikeforce, Pride, and IFL. The winner of three “Fight of the Year” awards is 38-years old and is a southpaw who stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 74 inches. Ruthless has lost four out of his last five bouts and is on a three bout losing streak heading to this contest. Lawler has an overall record of 28-14 with 20 knockouts and one loss via submission.

Neil Magny is the 14th ranked welterweight in the UFC. A competitor in The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs Team Nelson, this 33-year old fro Brooklyn, New  York fought for C3 Fights and Combat USA before joining the UFC in 2013. Magny stands 6-3 tall and has an incredible reach of 80 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 23-7 with seven knockouts and three wins via submission. Magny is 4-2 in his last six bouts and is coming off wins over Li Jingliang and Anthony Martin Rocco.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 08/28/2020

Magny has done enough this year to make him the betting favorite in this bout. He also has a six-inch reach advantage that makes him a worthy pick at -250. He is also the younger fighter and has good cardio. On the other hand, Lawler hasn’t won in three years and is getting older. He isn’t as ruthless as when he was champion but remember that he has fought top-notch competition in his recent bouts. Lawler’s loss to Askren was a fluke and he went five rounds with Covington so I think there’s still something left in that tank. Despite having a disadvantage in reach, Lawler has the better striking and that one-punch knockout power. I’ll take the plus money on the underdog.

Prediction: Robbie Lawler

“Fighting" Alexa Grasso vs Ji Yeon Kim

Alexa Grasso is the 14th ranked female strawweight in the UFC. The 27-year old from Guadalajara, Mexico fought for Xtreme Combat and Invicta FC before joining the UFC in 2017. Grasso has alternated wins and losses in the UFC and she is coming off a majority decision loss to Carla Esparza at UFC Fight Night 159. She is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 66 inches. Her record stands at 11-3 with four knockouts.

Ji Yeon Kim is the 14th ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 30-year old from Incheon, South Korea is a former Jewels and Gladiator women’s bantamweight champion before joining the UFC. She is 3-2 inside the octagon and is coming off a TKO win over Nadia Kassem. Kim has a record of 9-2 with two knockouts and three wins via submission. She stands 5-7 tall with a reach of 72 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 08/28/2020

This is Grasso’s first bout at 125 pounds and Kim has a two-inch reach advantage and a huge six-inch reach advantage. But while she has the size advantage over Grasso, Kim doesn’t fight much on the ground where her size will be an advantage. Instead, she likes to strike with her opponents and when it comes to the stand-up, it’s Grasso who has the cleaner striking and heavier hands. The reach advantage is alarming but Grasso can put up a pace that can negate that difference. Without having to cut much weight, I expect a better Alexa Grasso here.

Prediction: Alexa Grasso

“Fighting" Ricardo Lamas vs Bill Algeo

Ricardo Lamas is a former NCAA Division III collegiate wrestler at Elmhurst College. The 38-year old is known as the Bully and he is a former ISCF lightweight champion. Lamas also fought for the WEC and he once challenged for the UFC title at UFC 169 where he lost via decision to Jose Aldo. Lamas is a 5-8 orthodox fighter who has a reach of 71 inches. He has a record of 19-8 with six knockouts and five wins via submission.

Bill Algeo fought for WSOF, CFFC, and ROC before he was discovered in the Contender Series in 2019. He lost his bout against Brendan Loughnane and returned to CFFC but got a short notice call to fight Lamas and quickly accepted the offer. He stands 6-0 tall with a reach of 73 inches and is a switch hitter. Algeo has a record of 13-4 with three knockouts and six wins via submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 08/28/2020

Algeo is primarily a grappler and he’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who likes to take his opponent’s back and go for the choke. Lamas is a veteran who’s been there and done that. He’s faced the biggest names at 145 and I don’t think he will be rattled by Algeo at all. Algeo is a solid fighter but I don’t see him beating one of the toughest fighters in the division on short notice. Without a full camp, I don’t think he can come up with a game plan to submit a very good fighter like Lamas.

Prediction: Ricardo Lamas

“Fighting" Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba

Magomed Ankalaev is a former World Championship Fighting Akhmat light heavyweight champion and the 13th ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 28-year old from Dagestan joined the UFC in 2018 and after losing his UFC debut, he has won four consecutive bouts. In his last bout, he scored a TKO win over Ion Cutelaba in a fight that was controversially stopped. That’s the reason why we’re here. Ankalaev is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 75 inches.

Ion Cutelaba is a former European Combat Sambo champion who fought for the WWFC before joining the UFC in 2016. He is 4-4 inside the UFC octagon and wants to avenge his loss to Ankalaev last February. The Moldovan fighter stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 75 inches and is a southpaw fighter. Cutelaba has a record of 15-5 with 12 knockouts and two wins via submission.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 08/28/2020

In the first fight, Ankalaev was the sharper fighter on the feet and despite Cutelaba being a knockout threat, he was able to counter the Moldovan from a distance. Ankalaev is the quicker kickboxer and the better wrestler between the two. I think that the best chance for Cutelaba is to catch Ankalaev with a big punch and knock him out. But unless he can out-smart his opponent or show better conditioning, I think that Cutelaba is in trouble here. There’s no way Cutelaba wins this other than by knockout. That’s less likely to happen here.

Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev

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