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UFC Vegas: Smith vs Rakic - Aug 29 🇺🇸


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Some bank holiday weekend violence here. Saturday 29th August back at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

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Anthony Smith vs Aleksandar Rakic

Robbie Lawler vs Neil Magny 

Alexa Grasso vs Ji Yeon Kim 

Ricardo Lamas vs Bill Algeo 

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Maki Pitolo vs Impa Kasanganay 

Alessio Di Chirico vs Zak Cummings 

Alex Caceres vs Austin Springer

Sean Brady vs Christian Aguilera 

Emily Whitmire vs Polyana Viana 

Mallory Martin vs Hannah Cifers  

 

Really like the look of that. This is the card that Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Yair Rodriguez was supposed to headline. Still gutted that’s been pushed back but this is still a corker of a card. Some real quality throughout this one, especially for a Fight Night.

 

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Anthony Smith vs Aleksandar Rakic tops the bill now. It’ll be a 3 rounder because it was supposed to be co-main under Zabit vs Yair originally. Whatever, I’ll take it. Doubt they’d have needed 5 rounds anyway, to be honest. This sounds like fireworks but I’ve got slightly mixed feelings on this one. I’ve got high hopes for Rakic but at the same time I don’t want to see Smith get beat down again. He just got properly battered by Glover Teixeira in May. To the point even Glover started apologising between ground and pound punches. It took Smith a long time to get to the UFC contender/main event level and, because of that, I think a lot of people don’t realise the miles he actually has on him. He’s only 32 years old but he has a record of 33-15 now and he’s had some rough nights over the years. Even a bunch of his wins, he had to come back from an arse kicking to pull off. Rakic is coming off a split decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir but he’s only 28, he’s dangerous and he’s still fresh. His headkick KO over Jimi Manuwa on the Sweden card last year remains one of the scariest knockouts I’ve ever seen.

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Watching that live, I remember genuinely thinking Manuwa was seriously hurt or maybe worse. He hit the canvas hard, his head bounced off the mat and he was down for ages. Rakic is giving up a lot of experience here but I’ve got a feeling he might be catching Smith at the right time. The hype has cooled off big time since the Oezdemir loss but I still think the best is yet to come. Back when Rakic, Dominick Reyes and Johnny Walker were all running through opponents and none of them had lost in the UFC yet, I said I felt like Rakic had the brightest future of the three. Obviously, Reyes got the crack at the belt first and we saw what happened there. I still feel like Rakic might win the marathon though, even if Reyes is currently ahead of him in the sprint. Then there’s Walker, moonwalking somewhere 3 laps behind. Should be exciting while it lasts and I’m certainly not writing Smith off. He’s tough as fuck and experienced enough to give someone like Rakic issues. But I don’t know. I didn’t get a good feeling watching his last fight and that combined with Rakic’s potential, I’ve got a hunch Smith’s in for another bad night.

 

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Robbie Lawler vs Neil Magny is a piece of matchmaking I’m not altogether keen on but I understand why they’ve made it. Magny was supposed to fight Geoff Neal on this show but Neal had a bad health scare and couldn’t make it. And with the Zabit vs Yair headliner falling off, this card needed...something. Enter the old faithful Robbie Lawler. We all know Lawler’s lost a step but it’s an undeniable fact that any card is instantly improved by him being added to it. What an absolute treasure that man’s been to MMA over the last 2 decades. Like I said though, he’s struggled a bit of late. He’s 38 now, has been in war after war since his early 20s and he’s lost 3 out of his last 4 fights now. Fought some elite fighters in that spell so no shame losing to them but it’s not the best look however you chop it up. He’s been out a whole year at this point, lost a one sided decision to fuckface Colby Covington last August. Magny has never been the most exciting fighter to watch but he’s a solid all-rounder and generally fights pretty smart and plays to his strengths. He’s 23-7 with wins over the likes of Kelvin Gastelum, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks and Hector Lombard. Returned from a USADA suspension this year and has racked up a couple of decent points victories. Don’t know what to make of it. I always enjoy watching Ruthless Robbie do his thing but I don’t really like this matchup, especially on short notice. Just feels like Lawler probably only has a handful of fights left in him and Magny isn’t someone I’d have wasted one of them on. It’ll do but I’m not as up for it as I usually am for a Lawler fight. 

 

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Alexa Grasso vs Ji Yeon Kim. Don’t have a strong feeling on this one way or the other but I don’t hate it. Grasso is Mexican, 26 years old and 11-3 so far in MMA. Seemed to have all the potential in the world when she came in from Invicta but it’s been a bumpy road since. She’s been a lot of fun to watch though. I know a good chunk of the women’s fights tend to turn into nothing happening sparring sessions but that’s not the case with Grasso. She stands out from the pack as one of the more consistently exciting women fighters in the sport. If you don’t know, you need to watch more of her. She even dragged Carla Esparza into a bit of a war on the Mexico City card last September that got FOTN. When does Esparza ever get a FOTN bonus? Exactly. South Korea’s Kim is 30 years old with a 9-2-2 record. She’s coming in off a body punch finish over Nadia Kassem late last year. Don’t recall seeing much of her outside that.

 

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Maki Pitolo vs Impa Kasanganay got chucked on here out of the blue. Pitolo literally just fought on the Lewis vs Oleynik card on the 8th. Got submitted in a round by Darren Stewart. Wouldn’t have expected him to be back in there this quickly but I guess, despite being finished, he didn’t take a lot of damage and he’s still in shape so why not make another payday? I quite like Pitolo actually. He’ll never be a contender, I don’t think, but he goes for it and he’s usually in entertaining fights. Typical Hawaiian scrapper. He’s 13-6 now and nearly all his wins and losses have been inside the distance. Kasanganay is making his Octagon debut and is 26 years old with a perfect 7-0 record. Don’t know much about him but he was on Dana’s Contender Series and people seem quite high on him from bits I’ve read. That combined with Pitolo’s usually crowd pleasing style makes this one worth a glance.

 

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Alessio Di Chirico vs Zak Cummings is one of those fights that I just feel indifferent to. Don’t know what it is about these two. They’re not bad fighters at all. I just feel nothing when I see their names on a card. Di Chirico is Italian, 12-4 record and coming off a couple of points losses to Makhmud Muradov and Kevin Holland. His best win is probably his split decision over Julian Marquez, which sums him up really. Cummings is 23-7 and a scrappy BJJ black-belt and coming off a decision loss to Omari Akhmedov. He’s had his moments, to be fair. Wins over Trevin Giles and Nicolas Dalby. But yeah, it’s not really doing it for me.

 

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Sean Brady vs Christian Aguilera will understandably get overlooked on a card like this but I think this might be a real sleeper. Brady is 27 years old out of Philadelphia, a BJJ black-belt under Daniel Gracie and he’s unbeaten at 12-0. Only 5 finishes so far but I’ve liked what I’ve seen in his couple of UFC fights. He beat Court McGee in his debut and fellow prospect Ismail Naurdiev in his most recent fight in February. Christian (not Christina) Aguilera is 28 years old and based in California. 14-6 with 11 knockouts. I’d never heard of him until he made his UFC debut in June. But he made a hell of a first impression, stepping in on really short notice and KOing Anthony Ivy in a minute. Didn’t see enough of him to base much of an opinion on but he looked a handful in the minute’s footage I did see. Just based off that and him sounding like a bit of a knockout artist on his record, I like the sound of him and Brady squaring off.

 

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Emily Whitmire vs Polyana Viana isn’t setting the world alight. This fight was actually supposed to go down at UFC 248 in March but Whitmire bodged her weight cut and ended up in hospital, causing the fight to be scrapped on the day of the event. I’ve liked Viana ever since that story came out about some guy in Brazil trying to mug her and then finding out the hard way what she does for a living. But truth be told, she’s not that good. She’s 10-4 now and coming off 3 losses in a row. And she got subbed in a minute last time. If she gets another L here, I can see that being it for her in the UFC. Whitmire isn’t the best either though. She’s 4-3 and has lost decisively every time she’s come up against anyone decent. I can see the loser being gone either way here. Especially with it being Strawweight, which is probably the one women’s division they can afford to trim the dead wood from.

 

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Mallory Martin vs Hannah Cifers is just filler. Martin is 26 with a 6-3 record. Can’t remember if I’ve seen her fight but the only decent names on her record are Virna Jandiroba and Maycee Barber and she lost to both. Cifers is 10-6 and coming off 3 straight losses. Got to assume she’s getting her P45 with another loss here. Quite like Cifers, to be honest. She’s one of them that seems too timid and nice to be a fighter but, while she’s not the most talented, she definitely doesn’t shy away from a scrap.

 

Cracking card. Main event is either going to be a slobberknocker or a quick blowout. Then you’ve got Robbie Lawler, Ryan Hall’s actually got a fight (!!), the bonkers Ankalaev vs Cutelaba rematch, under the radar potential show stealers like Caceres vs Chikadze and Brady vs Aguilera. There’s a bit of everything for whatever your MMA tastes are. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Some bank holiday weekend violence here. Saturday 29th August back at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. ESPN+ MAIN CARD Anthony Smith vs Aleksandar Rakic Robbie Lawler vs Neil Magny  Al

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Just looked up Kevin Croom, 21-12 record. No names of any note, currently on a 3-fight win streak. Guessing this is just a placeholder match to keep a challenger warm for Chikadze.

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