Fight Night: Alexander Gustafsson Vs Anthony Smith


Alexander Gustafsson
Alexander Gustafsson
18-5-0
1:00 pm ET, Saturday, June 1, 2019
Ericsson Globe, Stockholm Sweden
Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith
31-14-0
TV: ESPN+, TSN4
Fight Night: Alexander Gustafsson Vs Anthony Smith

Alexander Gustafsson(-250) vs. Anthony Smith(+175)

Sweden’s most renowned fighter and former title challenger, Alexander Gustafsson, returns to action against the always formidable Anthony Smith.

Coming off a devastating loss at the hands of light heavyweight overlord, Jon Jones, it’s easy to write Gustafsson off. However, the performance was a masterclass by Jones, using lateral movement, low kicks and an array of other tools to completely nullify Gustafsson’s boxing offense. As great as Jones’ display was, we’re not going to see something similar from Smith – who will stand in front of you and give you a battle to the death.

Gustafsson has excellent boxing for MMA, with one of the best jabs in the UFC. Against an opponent with less finesse on the feet and porous defense, I think Gustafsson can shine in front of his home crowd. If things get dicey on the feet, the Swede also has an underrated takedown game and is dangerous from top position. We saw him go to his grappling against Polish kickboxer, Jan Blachowicz, and this could represent the path of least resistance against Smith (who has never been effective at fighting off his back).

Smith looked great in dismantling fading veterans, Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua, but he has an entirely different task ahead of him in Stockholm. The American is a savage with true knockout power, but I think he’s at a deficiency in terms of technical striking ability. This isn’t to say he can’t win, but I think it would require an underwhelming performance from Gustafsson.

Pick:  Alexander Gustafsson -250

Volkan Oezdemir (-190) vs. Ilir Latifi (+165) 

Even with losses in his last three fights, it makes sense that Oezdemir is the favorite in this fight. Oezdemir has a size and reach advantage, and he’s the more polished, accurate striker in a fight that’s likely going to include a ton of standup. The problem is that Latifi can certainly hold his owns striking wise in this fight and is better defensively. It takes just one slip of a strike for Latifi to catch the bigger target in Oezdemir and have the Swedish fans losing their mind. Latifi would also have the edge if this fight went to the canvas, as we’re not used to seeing Oezdemir being dragged into deep waters often.

Oezdemir is the better fighter overall, but Latifi is more balanced and has good enough striking to make this closer to a toss-up. So, give me the underdog on his tom soil.

Pick: Ilir Latifi +165

Jimi Manuwa(-222) vs. Aleksandar Rakic(+170)

You’d be a fool to give up on Manuwa given his skill set, but at some point he has to show more versatility in the octagon and has to become a smarter fighter. At 39 years old, it’s probably safe to say Manuwa is what he is at this point. Rakic may still be a little green when it comes to fighting quality competition, but the kid has the goods to continue rising up the ranks. Rakic is a smart fighter on his feet who exposes his opponents weaknesses and he defends takedowns well. If Manuwa thinks he can take the same approach by trading with Rakic and hoping he lands a power shot, he’s probably going to lose his fourth straight fight.

Rakic is simply the smarter fighter and somebody I have far more confidence in at this moment. Look for him to keep this winning streak going for another bout.

Pick: Aleksandar Rakic -222

Gustafsson vs Smith Odds- Full Card

Hour Team Opening BOVADA.LV BetOnline Intertops
10:00a
Alexander Gustafsson
Anthony Smith
draw
-250
+175
-
10:00a
Volkan Oezdemir
Ilir Latifi
draw
 -190
+165
   
10:00a
Jimi Manuwa
Aleksandar Rakic
draw
-222
+170
-
10:00a
Makwan Amirkhani
Chris Fishgold
draw
       
10:00a
Christos Giagos
Damir Hadzovic
draw
+217
-273
-
10:00a
Sung Bin Jo
Daniel Teymur
draw
       
10:00a
Bartosz Fabinski
Sergey Khandozhko
draw
-118
-104
-
10:00a
Tonya Evinger
Lina Lansberg
draw
       
10:00a
Stevie Ray
Leonardo Santos
draw
+207
-263
-
10:00a
Frank Camacho
Nick Hein
draw
       
10:00a
Bea Malecki
Eduarda Santana
draw
-189
+161
-
10:00a
Devin Clark
Darko Stosic
draw
       
10:00a
Joel Alvarez
Danilo Belluardo
draw
-208
+172
-

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