Aleksander Rakic hurt Anthony Smith early with leg kicks in the main event of UFC On ESPN+ 33 tonight, but then used stifling grappling to control the remainder of the fight and secure a unanimous decision victory.
The light-heavyweight main event is underway in Las Vegas.
Rakic with an inside leg kick. Now one to the outside. He lands again hard to the calf on the outside.
Now it’s Smith’s time to land a low kick. Body kick from Rakic. Smith throwing a punch as Rakic lands another leg kick.
Beefy leg kicks landing from both men here. Rakic with a right hand here. They both throw a leg kick at the same time. Rakic lands a leg kick. Another very hard one and then again immediately afterwards seems to buckle Smith and he goes to the mat.
Smith getting a bit of a breather on the mat though as Rakic doesn’t turn up the heat too much. Smith gets to his feet and jumps onto Rakic’s back. Rakic is able to shake him off though and get him to the mat again.
Rakic stays patient and then settles in on top. Smith starts to work a high guard, but not able to do too much cramped up against the cage.
Rakic being very patient on top, perhaps conserving his energy for later. a little space gives Smith a chance to land a nice punch from his back.
Rakic closes that distance and starts to land a few punches of his own at the end of the round.
Back to the calf kick straight away goes Rakic. Smith closes the distance and lands, but then Rakic gets space and lands a good body kick.
Smith pressing forward again and lands a hard punch. Rakic able to get a nice takedown soon after though.
Smith trying for a triangle attempt, but nothing doing. Rakic still patient on top from inside Smith’s guard. Punches to the body from him.
Smith trying to get something going off his back, but he’s having difficulty getting anything going. Rakic posturing up now as they’ve shifted over to the cage. A few body punches from Rakic, but really he’s mostly focusing on control here.
Punch to the head from Rakic. FInal 10 seconds of the round and Rakic again just happy to maintain position as Smith tries to punch him to the head.
Hard leg kick from Rakic. Now he’s going upstairs with big head kicks as he looks for a finish. Smith works into the clinch, but it’s not long before Rakic is able to bring him back down to the mat again.
Nice right hand from Rakic. Smith on his knees and wants to stand, but Rakic is weighing heavy on him.
Rakic with a knee to the thigh. Another lands. Again it lands and Smith is turtled up for now. Smith looking a bit out of ideas here as Rakic starts to rack up more knees to the leg.
Smith’s corner urging him to stand, but it’s not happening and he goes to his back. Rakic completely stifling Smith here from on top and cruising to victory.
Final 10 seconds of the fight and Rakic backs up to his feet and starts showboating, walking around the Octagon with his hand raised. Probably not the best idea given that it wasn’t the most action-packed fight, but Smith doesn’t have the energy to give chase and we’re headed to the scorecards.
Complete control for Rakic here then, landing brutal leg kicks in the early stages of the fight, but then switching up to dominate Smith on the mat for the remainder of the bout on his way to a unanimous decision victory (30-26, 30-27 x2)