The UFC returns to the APEX Center for UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakić on Saturday, August 29th. Prelims begin at 5:00pm and the main card kicks off at 8:00pm CST. In this article we will breakdown each of those main card matchups, give the current betting odds and our picks/predictions for how we see each of those fights going down!
Betting odds on the preliminary card as of August 25th are as follows:
Impa Kasanganay (-130) vs. Maki Pitolo (+110)
Mallory Martin (-300) vs. Hannah Cifers (+250)
Alessio Di Chirico (-120) vs. Zak Cummings (+100)
Giga Chikadze (-240) vs. Alex Caceres (+200)
Polyana Viana (-110) vs. Emily Whitmire (-110)
Sean Brady (-380) vs. Christian Aguilera (+310)
Magomed Ankalaev (14-1) vs. Ion Cuțelaba (15-5-0, 1NC)
Betting odds as of 8/25/20: Magomed Ankalaev (-350), Ion Cutelaba (+290)
First up on the main card is Russia’s Magomed Ankalaev running it back with the Moldovan Ion Cuțelaba. Their first meeting back on February 29th resulted in a controversial first-round stoppage win for Ankalaev. Ankalaev landed a few head kicks early, and Cuțelaba may have wobbled, however appeared to be well in the fight still. Referee Kevin MacDonald, who’s typically as good as they come, stepped in and called the fight, with Cuțelaba immediately in protest. You can comment if I’m wrong here, but I don’t think we’ve seen MacDonald officiating in the Octagon since. Although this is the first fight on the main card, this matchup has Fight of the Night potential written all over it! Ankalaev is 14-1, and after losing his UFC debut to Paul Craig, has racked up 4 straight. Cuțelaba is 15-5 (4-4 in the UFC) and it just seems like he can’t get that defining victory that he needs over a named opponent, having lost his cracks at Misha Cirkunov, Jared Cannonier, and Glover Teixeira.
Our pick: Ankalaev, decision
Ricardo Lamas (19-8) vs. Bill Algeo (13-4)
Betting odds as of 8/26/20: Ricardo Lamas (-265), Bill Algeo (+205)
Next up we have WEC/UFC staple, Ricardo Lamas taking on Bill Algeo. Algeo makes his UFC debut as he replaces Ryan Hall, who had to withdraw from this one because of an injury. Hall of course, is out of the Fifty/50 Martial Arts Academy with ties to a few locals, Vinh and Thanh Le (One FC) and Carlos Vera. Algeo, fell short on Dana White’s Contender Series last year, but he get’s another go at impressing the boss. Algeo is 13-4, and he’s no stranger to the big lights, having fought with the World Series of Fighting and 8 bouts with Cage Fury Fighting Championships. At 38 years old, it appears that Lamas’ career has seen better days. After going 18-5 with a huge first-round KO over Jason Knight back in 2017, Lamas has since lost 3 out of his last 4. Those losses, however, did come at the hands of Josh Emmett, Mirsad Bektic and most recently Calvin Kattar. All of that being said, Lamas had a full camp, he’s got a serious edge in experience, and he should get the W here.
Our pick: Lamas, 2nd-round KO/TKO
Ji Yeon Kim (9-2-2) vs. Alexa Grasso (11-3)
Betting odds as of 8/25/20: Alexa Grasso (-310), Ji Yeon Kim (+255)
The third matchup of the main card is a women’s Flyweight bout between South Korea’s Ji Yeon Kim and Mexico’s Alexa Grasso. Grasso comes in at a -310 favorite. Grasso, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 contestant, has gone 3-3 in the UFC, most recently suffering a majority decision loss to Carla Esparza back in September of last year. Kim is 3-2 with the UFC, and she’s coming off of a KO win by way of a body punch over Nadia Kassem last October. Something to look out for this week will be how Kim handles her cut down to 125. She’s missed weight in her last 2 fights (by 2 lbs and 4.5lbs, respectively) and she’s had issues making Flyweight her entire career. If Kim can make weight, and if she looks healthy, we might be looking at our first upset on the main card!
Our pick: Kim, decision
Robbie Lawler (28-14-0, 1 NC) vs. Neil Magny (23-8)
Betting odds as of 8/25/20: Neil Magny (-230), Robbie Lawler (+195)
The co-main event this Saturday should be an absolute banger as Neil Magny squares off with Robbie Lawler! Magny’s won 4 out of his last 5, and he’s racked up a stacked 16-6 record in the UFC dating back to 2013. He’s got wins over Tim Means, Erick Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Hector Lombard, Johny Hendricks, and Carlos Condit, to name a few. As for Robbie Lawler, there’s not much more that can be said that you don’t already know! Even though he’s dropped 3 straight, and fallen short in 4 out of his last 5, if Robbie is in a fight, he is IN that fight. There’s no doubt that Lawler still has a bad taste in his mouth from his performance against Colby Covington in his last fight, and the controversial bulldog choke loss to Ben Askren in the fight before that. I think in this fight, Lawler lays it all on the line to remove that bad taste from his mouth, and he gets another win for the dogs!
Our pick: Lawler, 1st-round KO/TKO
Anthony Smith (33-15) vs. Aleksandar Rakić (12-2)
Betting odds as of 8/25/20: Aleksandar Rakić (-325), Anthony Smith (+265)
The main event features a Light Heavyweight fracas between Anthony Smith and Austria’s Aleksandar Rakić. After a sensational rise to the top ranks of the division, racking up wins over Hector Lombard, Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua, and Volkan Oezdemir, Anthony Smith explicably fell short in his title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 235. In his next fight, Smith earned Performance of the Night honors in a submission victory over Alexander Gustafsson. Then, came his last fight with Glover Teixeira, which undoubtedly left most fans who watched it with some form of Post-Traumatic Stress due to the absolutely brutality of that defeat. (I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to ‘Return of the Mack’ again without feeling sick to my stomach). Aleksandar Rakic will be making his way to the Octagon for the 6th time, and he had impressive wins over Devin Clark and Jimi Manuwa before tasting defeat for the first time in the UFC with a decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir last December. Before joining the ‘big show,’ Rakic fought in both Germany and Austria, including a win back in 2014 over Marcin Prachnio in Vienna. As much as I’d like to see Anthony Smith rebound here, I think Rakić will end up on top.
Our pick: Rakić, decision
Tell us what you think! Where do we have it right, and where do you think we got it wrong? Comment with your picks, and don’t forget to bookmark our page and check back often for more predictions and fight coverage. If you like what you see, go ahead and give our Facebook page a like and follow us on Twitter & Instagram @fightsportfocus. Don’t forget to bookmark this website and like and subscribe to the Fight Sport Focus podcast on Anchor.fm, Spotify, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!