Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith will be back in action when he takes on rising contender Aleksandar Rakic in the main event at UFC’s upcoming August 29th event.
The matchup, which was announced earlier tonight during UFC 252’s “Prelims” broadcast on ESPN, will replace the previously scheduled headliner between featherweights Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov after “El Pantera” was forced to withdraw.
Smith, 31, is coming off arguably the worst loss of his career when Glover Teixeira literally knocked his teeth out back in May. Before that, “Lionheart” had went five hard rounds with current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones before choking out division staple Alexander Gustafsson just three months later. Smith remains one of the best 205-pound fighters in the world today and could launch himself back into contention with a good showing this summer.
Rakic, 28, is coming off a close split-decision loss to former UFC title challenger Volkan Oezdemir back in December. Many fight fans thought Rakic won that bout but he ended up suffering his first UFC defeat. In total, the talented Austrian striker is 4-1 inside of the Octagon with memorable finishes over Jimi Manuwa and Devin Clark. A victory over a proven contender like Smith will go a long way in setting Rakic up for a run at the title in 2020. After all, he’s one of the most promising young names in the division today.
Stick with Mania for more updates on UFC’s Aug. 29 event.