Turning our sights to UFC Vegas 8, this main event features an exciting bout between Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic. Both fighters will look to bounce back after each suffering a loss in their most recent Octagon appearance. Unlike normal main events, this fight will take place over the course of three rounds.
With a number of exciting prelims also on deck, let’s take a look at the top bets on this week’s card using Awesemo’s Odds Shopper tool.
UFC Betting Picks: Moneyline Winners
Aleksandar Rakic -290 (FanDuel)
Often known as a slow starter, Anthony Smith finds himself matched up with a dangerous Aleksandar Rakic ahead of this bout. Both fighters enter this fight fresh off a loss. Smith lost via fifth round knockout to Glover Teixeira back in May. Meanwhile, Rakic lost his most recent fight last December in a split decision at the hands of Volkan Oezdemir.
Looking at this fight, Smith remains a tough fighter to back in the betting markets. With his non-aggressive style, he generally relies on finishing his opponents. In tight decisions, he often doesn’t produce enough volume to come out on top. He only lands 3.19 strikes per minute and 0.45 takedowns on average. While Smith holds a 91-percent finish rate, Rakic has never been finished in his career.
On the other side, Rakic remains the more aggressive fighter in both phases. He lands 4.17 strikes per minute and averages 1.20 takedowns per bout. Zooming out, Rakic won or tied the striking battle in every one of his UFC fights. Conversely, Smith allowed more strikes than he inflicted in four straight fights.
While this fight is +150 to go the distance, Rakic looks more likely to finish this fight on top. He still hasn’t been finished in his young career and Smith enters this fight fresh off a brutal knockout only a few months ago. At -290 Rakic remains a safe bet. For those feeling spicy, Rakic winning via knockout comes in at +110 on PointsBet.
Maki Pitolo +110 (BetMGM)
Taking on UFC newcomer Impa Kasanganay, Maki Pitolo enters this bout fresh off a submission loss earlier this August. Also fighting for the second time this month, Kasanganay defeated Anthony Adams on Dana White’s Contender Series. Now standing 7-0, Kasanganay enters this bout with more hype than experience. With Pitolo fighting in the UFC for the fourth time, taking the experienced underdog warrants consideration.
Looking at Pitolo’s recent record, he actually fought twice already this summer. He defeated Charles Byrd via second round knockout in June, before falling to Darren Stewart by first round submission. While nothing can be taken from Stewart, the submission occurred on a takedown from Pitolo. Stewart had never recorded a submission prior to this bout. Instead of making immense leaps as a grappler, Pitolo’s poor awareness likely resulted in the submission loss.
On the other side, Kasanganay enters his eighth professional fight. Despite his undefeated record, Kasanganay lacks experience. He made his professional debut in January 2019 and remains raw as a prospect. With a seasoned striker in Pitolo on the other side, backing the underdog makes plenty of sense here. Pitolo also remains +250 to win via knockout.
Ion Cutelaba +270 (FanDuel)
Swinging completely into the underdogs ahead of UFC Vegas 8, Ion Cutelaba enters his rematch against Magomed Ankalaev as a significant underdog. These two met earlier this year in February, with Ankalaev winning by knockout. However, the fight remains controversial after the referee stepped in early to call the fight.
Digging in a bit deeper, the closing line on the February fight was +185 Looking for more MMA DFS picks content? We’ve got loads of articles, data, cheatsheets and more on the Awesemo MMA home page, just click HERE.for Cutelaba. Seeing the line swing 85 points looks like an overcorrection. The first fight between these two only went 38 seconds. Ankalaev won the striking battle 8-5, but very little can be gathered from those stats.
Looking at the entire body of work, Cutelaba has faced the superior competition heading into this fight. Prior to Ankalaev, Cutelaba’s two most recent losses came at the hands of ranked contenders in Glover Teixeira and Jared Cannonier. Meanwhile, Ankalaev’s lone loss came to Paul Craig. Cutelaba also remains the more aggressive fighter here. He lands 5.29 strikes per minute, compared to Ankalaev’s 3.46. Based on these numbers, Cutelaba’s volume likely scores well with the judges in a theoretical decision.
Overall, the +270 line looks juicy after Cutelaba’s initial controversial loss to Ankalaev. With the market adjusting ahead of this rematch, Cutelaba remains a long shot underdog worth targeting here.
Looking for more MMA DFS picks content? We’ve got loads of articles, data, cheatsheets and more on the Awesemo MMA home page, just click HERE.Looking for more MMA DFS picks content? We’ve got loads of articles, data, cheatsheets and more on the Awesemo MMA home page, just click HERE.