Aleksandar Rakic will be entering the biggest fight of his MMA career to date when he takes on former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith tomorrow night (Sat., Aug. 29, 2020) at UFC Vegas 8 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This is an incredible opportunity for the 27-year-old Rakic as he makes his first official main event appearance under the UFC banner. It will be a chance for the Austrian striker to prove he’s one of the best contenders in the division today and a serious player in the hunt for the recently vacated 205-pound title.
In addition, Rakic will have his opportunity to rebound from a split-decision loss to veteran Volkan Oezdemir last December. It was a fight many thought Rakic had won, but it ended up snapping his four-fight UFC win streak.
“Everybody around the world knows that I won the fight; you just need to see the numbers,” Rakic told UFC.com.
“Everybody knows that I won that fight and even the UFC knows I won that fight because a couple months later, I got a new contract and now they’re offering me Anthony Smith, a more highly ranked opponent than Volkan,” he added. “For me, that gives me the feeling that they know who won that fight in Korea.”
With the division currently wide open there’s never been a better time for Rakic to break out and climb the 205-pound ladder in fashion. He’ll have to defeat a former title challenger to begin that difficult ascend, but the knockout finisher is more than up to the challenge, especially after a grueling training camp.
“This fight is the biggest fight of my career and the most important fight for me,” said Rakic. “I wasn’t with my family for almost two months. I went through hell in Zagreb and someone needs to pay for that and it’s going to be Anthony Smith. I need to make a statement and I will make a statement on Saturday.”
Rakic, who has never fought someone as well-rounded as Smith, is best known for his monstrous head kick knockout over Jimi Manuwa just over one year ago (highlights HERE). While the light heavyweight contender understands that “Lionheart” isn’t going to be as easy to put out as Manuwa, he’s still hoping for an “explosive” stoppage at UFC Vegas 8.
“Anthony is an experienced guy. He fought five rounds against Jon (Jones) and has fought many former champions — Rashad (Evans), Shogun (Rua)— and he’s a good opponent at this time for me,” explained Rakic.
“He has the lion heart, like his nickname, he’s mentally very strong and he can take a beating, plus he can also bring it and finish people. But I’m the most explosive guy in the division — that’s why they call me ‘Rocket’ — and I’m going to show that on Saturday night.”
What do you think, fight fans? Does Rakic get the finish and ascend the light heavyweight division this Saturday night?
Let us know!
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