Predictions for UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic – 29 August, 2020

| August 25, 2020 2:42 am PDT

I’ve got my UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic picks down, and I can honestly say that there are some good fights to bet on this coming August 29.

The headline bout sees betting underdog Anthony Smith face-off with light heavyweight rising star, Aleksandr Rakic. Smith returns to the cage following a brutal knockout loss to Glover Teixeira in May.

Rakic is aiming to put a contentious split decision defeat against Volkan Oezdemir behind him. That fight, in December 2019, snapped a 12 bout win streak for the Austrian. He comes in as a heavy favorite for the fight. 

Elsewhere, we have Robbie Lawler looking to end his losing skid against Neil Magny. The former welterweight champion will be hoping to turn the clock back with a solid win on the night.

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba 2 is also about to look out for.

So, let’s get started predicting all UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic winners, shall we?

Rakic to Beat Smith by KO/TKO

The headline fight is going to be unmissable. In short, it should be nothing less than a three-round barnstormer between two guys who always turn up to fight. 

In Smith’s case, he might be coming in a little too early. I’m somewhat concerned about how much his stoppage loss to Glover Teixeira in May took out of him, and this gives the edge to Rakic.

Smith enters the 49th fight of his career with a lot of mileage on the clock. He has taken significant damage since turning pro in 2008, and it is bound to catch up with him at some point. We have seen better fighters than “Lionheart” decline without warning, and there are real questions about his chin at this point.

Although Smith is a very solid fighter who can absolutely win this fight, Rakic is the younger and fresher athlete. The Austrian did lose a contentious split decision to Volkan Oezdemir in December but will be looking to put that behind him against Smith. This would be Rakic’s biggest win to date if he can pull it off. 

In all fairness, he will have his hands full against the Texan. But he can probably count himself lucky to find himself in there with Smith at this point. I have serious questions over whether Smith is ready for a fight like this so soon after Teixeira.

I expand on these thoughts in my Smith vs. Rakic betting preview. You can get a full breakdown of that fight, with the best odds and bets. 

Lawler to Beat Magny

Robbie Lawler takes on Neil Magny in what should be a really fun fight. 

The former UFC welterweight king will be looking to get back in the winning column following four defeats from his last five fights. He is currently suffering a three-fight skid, with losses to Rafael dos Anjos, Ben Askren, and Colby Covington. 

Magny’s record from his last five is almost an inverted version of Lawler’s. He is 4-1 from his last five, and has earned two wins on the bounce against Li Jingliang and Anthony Rocco Martin.

The betting line on this one has changed dramatically since odds opened for Lawler vs. Magny. A lot of money has been put on Magny in recent weeks, making Lawler around a 2-1 underdog. Serious odds, but is he capable of pulling it off?

You could say that he hasn’t looked great in his last two fights since returning from a long layoff in 2019. But you could as easily argue that the stoppage against Ben Askren was a poor decision by Herb Dean, and, well, going five rounds with Colby Covington is no mean feat. 

I fancy Lawler to beat Magny. From what I have seen of him recently, he appears to be in good nick. He still has the power, and I think he can take the reins in the center of the Octagon and convince all three judges to give him the nod at the end of the night.

Grasso to Beat Kim by Decision

Alexa Grasso returns to the Octagon for the first time since her Fight of the Night loss against Carla Esparza in Mexico City last September. 

Her opponent on the night is South Korea’s Ji Yeon Kim, who is coming off a knockout win over Nadia Kassem in October. Having seen her last couple of fights scrapped, she will be keen to get her gloves on and back to work.

Grasso is the heavy favorite in his bout, and it’s hard to back against her, even if this is her first bout at flyweight. She outgrew the strawweight class, not by talent, but her ability to make the 115-pound limit. I think she will better for it.

Her opponent on the night needs to deal with her own weight cutting issues in a similar fashion, too. Kim has failed to make weight in her last two fights.

When it comes down to it, I expect Grasso will have a little too much for Kim to deal with. She holds the advantage on the feet, and will feel revitalized at ten pounds north of her old stomping ground.

I’ll take Grasso by decision.

Ryan Hall vs. Ricardo Lamas (Cancelled)

This fight is now cancelled. Hall unfortunately withdrew from the scrap with an injury.

It’s unknown whether Lamas will accept a fight with a last-minute opponent. 

Ankalaev vs. Cutelaba

These two met at UFC Fight Night 169 last February, in what was one of the most surreal fights we have seen in the promotion. And that is really saying something.

In case you missed it, Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev were in each other’s faces before the bout had even started and had to be separated before the ceremony was concluded.

When the fight officially started, Ankalaev had the upper hand. He was landing on Cutelaba, who, while looking rather wobbly, was not out of it. But that didn’t deter ref Kevin MacDonald from waving the bout off.

Cutelaba was furious, and the UFC saw enough to agree that the fight should happen again. The bout was penciled in for UFC 252 last weekend, before being moved to the undercard of this event.

As for how it goes? Well, in my Ankalaev vs. Cutelaba betting preview, I discuss how the former has the edge over his rival. We thought Cutelaba was the better striker before the first fight, but it appears as though Ankalaev can live with him on the feet, too.

I’ll take Ankalaev by decision.

Kasanganay to Beat Pitolo by Decision

Maki Pitolo vs. Impa Kasanganay is another fight that has been pushed back to this card. And that extra week could make all the difference.

As I previously covered, Kasanganay secured his UFC contract on via Dana White’s Contender Series 28 on August 11, making this booking a little surprising. A decision victory over Anthony Adams earned him a shot at a former Contender Series fighter, Maki Pitolo.

Pitolo hasn’t made huge waves in the UFC but is fairly well rounded. He dropped a first-round submission to Darren Stewart on August 8, so it will be interesting to gauge just how quickly he can bounce back from that loss.

I’m expecting a solid fight here, but have to give Kasanganay the nod. He’ll be the fresher of the two, and definitely the more confident and game.

Martin to Beat Cifers by Submission

Another Contender Series graduate, Mallory Martin, hooked up with the promotion last year. But it turned out to be a disappointing one for the Denver native, as she suffered a disheartening submission loss at the hands of Virna Jandiroba.

That defeat snapped a five-fight winning streak that contained two KO/TKOs and one submission of her own. I can see why Martin is the favorite to beat Cifers, and I think she will get the job done on the night.

Cifers is on a three-fight skid with two submission losses and one knockout making her resume look a little less than desirable. This is her fourth fight in 2020, and I don’t expect things to get much better for “Shockwave.”

I’ll take Martin by submission.

Cummings to Beat Di Chirico by Decision

Zak Cummings vs. Alessio Di Chirico serves as an interesting middleweight scrap on the prelims. 

Cummings is 2-1 at middleweight and is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Omari Akhmedov in September. Prior to that loss, Cummings put both Trevor Smith and Trevin Giles to the sword. 

Di Chirico is 2-2 from his last four, with back to back wins over Oluwale Bamgbose and Julian Marquez followed up with losses to Kevin Holland and Makhmud Muradov.

On paper, this is a pretty tough one to call. I think Cummings is the better-rounded of the pair and think he can use his experience to grind out a win on the judges’ scorecards.

That’s my take. 

Chikadze to Beat Caceres by KO/TKO

Giga Chikadze and Alex Caceres will be repping the featherweight division on the night.

Caceres is coming off a hype-bursting win over bright prospect Chase Hooper in June, which followed a win over Steven Peterson the year prior. Can the nine-year veteran get a third consecutive win in the UFC for the first time? Well, Chikadze will make that extremely hard for him to achieve.

Afterward, Caceres said he wanted to be a voice for his community during the national Black Lives Matter protests.

Chikadze picked up a decision win over Irwin Rivera in May to make it five from his last five. The Georgian is a menace with proven stoppage power as well as a good submission game. 

I’ll Chikadze by KO/TKO.

Marquez to Beat Safarov by KO/TKO

It’s not all bright and dandy for Dagestan’s legion of UFC fighters, as Saparbek Safarov’s record shows us.

Since hooking up with the promotion, Safarov is 1-3 in the light heavyweight division. His sole win came against Nicolae Negumereanu, with losses to Gian Villante, Tyson Pedro, and Rodolfo Vieira.

His impressive five-fight winning streak snapped by Alessio Di Chirico in July 2018, which put a dent in the ambitions of “The Cuban Missile Crisis.” Great name, by the way.

Marquez’s cage rust might work against him in this fight, but I do think he is still capable of fighting to a high level. He is a better fighter than Safarov, and I think he is powerful enough to put him away inside the distance.

If I were betting on the round he gets it done, I’d take the second. 

Polyana Viana vs. Emily Whitmire

Polyana Viana and Emily Whitmire clash on the early prelims, in what should be a solid strawweight bout. The pair was initially penciled in for a fight at UFC 248 in March, only for Whitmire to be admitted to hospital following complications with a weight cut. 

Portland’s Whitmire is 2-1 in the UFC. She bagged victories over Jamie Moyle and Aleksandra Albu in her first two bouts, before going down to Amanda Ribas on the judges’ scorecards at UFC Fight Night: Ngannou vs. Santos in June of last year.

Viana’s career took a nosedive following her impressive first-round submission of Maia Stevenson, suffering three losses on the bounce to J.J. Aldrich, Hannah Cifers, and Veronica Macedo.

I like Whitmire in this one. I think she’s solid enough on the feet and can keep things standing. If she can fire off from behind her jab and score from the outside, she can pick up a decision win.

Brady to Beat Aguilera by Decision

Unbeaten welterweight prospect Sean Brady takes on Christian Aguilera in the first bout of the evening.

Aguilera is an absolute monstrous puncher who has done away with most of his opponents by way of first-round KO. He demonstrated this raw power in his UFC debut back in June, scoring a huge upset win over Anthony Ivy. 

I picked Aguilera as one of my UFC sleepers that night, and his odds of +300 were well received.

Can he do the same against Brady? Absolutely. It only takes one clean connect for this guy to end the night. With that said, I don’t think Brady will be as easy to hit as some of his other opponents. 

Brady has shown that he has a good skillset including decent boxing, solid takedown defense, and a blackbelt in BJJ. He is too much for Aguilera, in my opinion.

Wrap Up

That’s it for my UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic predictions and picks. As you now know, there are some underrated fights happening on this card. Let’s hope whatever bets you go with pay off.

We have some really good events coming up soon, too. You can get all the information you need about these in our UFC betting guide which includes the latest odds and picks for the likes of Adesanya vs. Costa and Khabib vs. Gaethje.

Enjoy the fights!

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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