Anthony Smith says Aleksandar Rakic simple but dangerous

Anthony Smith says Aleksandar Rakic simple but dangerous


Anthony Smith is wary of Aleksandar Rakic’s power but doesn’t see too many things he should worry about.

Smith (32-15 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who’s been campaigning for a fight with Corey Anderson, admits that Rakic wasn’t really on his radar but is ultimately excited for the matchup. The former UFC light heavyweight title challenger will headline his sixth straight event when he faces Rakic (12-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at UFC on ESPN+ 33 on Aug. 29.

“I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting Rakic,” Smith told MMA Junkie. “To be honest with you, I was expecting Corey Anderson, so I think with everything and the fallout that happened with Corey and him ending up with Bellator, I think that that probably is a pretty good tell of why we didn’t fight. He just wasn’t accepting fights.

“But when they came with Rakic, I’m good with it. I like the matchup, I like his style. I think his style favors me a lot. He’s kind of a one-trick pony, you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into, and the danger factor is super high, so I think that I had an easier time getting up for this fight than I would vs. like a Corey Anderson.”

In his last outing, Smith suffered a fifth-round stoppage loss to Glover Teixeira in May, a fight in which his corner received plenty of criticism for not throwing in the towel. After a strong start, Smith was cracked by Teixeira, and he had a hard time recovering ever since. He showed incredible heart and resilience, but the fight was eventually stopped.

Rakic, on the other hand, is coming off his first-career loss to Volkan Oezdemir last December. Prior to that, he made quick work of Devin Clark and Jimi Manuwa in less than a round combined.

So while Smith understands that he can’t get complacent against a guy like Rakic, he thinks Rakic’s loss to Oezdemir showed some holes in his game.

“I think at this point I need that danger factor,” Smith said. “I need that guy that’ll keep you up at night. You have something to think about when you’re at the gym. It keeps me sharp. There’s no getting lazy with him. I got caught getting a little distracted and being lazy in the Glover fight, and look what happened. I can’t do that with a guy that’s as explosive and as powerful as Aleksandar Rakic is.”

He continued, “The Volkan fight shows he’s got some toughness there. He’s got some toughness, but once he got cracked and Volkan weathered the storm, you didn’t see Rakic pushing forward like he typically does. He wasn’t bullying Volkan like he does everybody else. So I think that’s a little bit indicative of where he kind of is in his skill level.”



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