This is the UFC Vegas 8 live blog for Anthony Smith vs. Aleksandar Rakic, the light heavyweight headliner for Saturday’s fight card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
Smith hopes to rebound from a brutal TKO loss to Glover Teixeira in his previous outing, while Rakic is trying to get in the right column after a split-call loss to Volkan Oezdemir.
Check out the UFC Vegas 8 live blog below.
Round 1: Rakic leads with leg kicks, one of which spin Smith around. He replies with the same, and Rakic goes to the body before going back to the legs. They both intercept leg kicks with punches and continue to batter each other’s lower legs. Big kicks, and Rakic glances with a right hand. Another big one, and Smith moves in, and another shot drops him to the mat. Rakic hammerfists the body as Smith tries to right himself. In a near squat, Smith drives forward and gets to the back in a scramble. Rakic dumps him, and he pitches forward for another takedown. Rakic sprawls and keeps a front headlock. Guillotine setup, and Rakic bowls Smith over to the cage. In half-guard, Rakic bides time for ground and pound as Smith grabs a free arm. Right hands from Rakic. Rubber guard from Smith briefly, and Rakic continues to piston the right hand. Smith throws a leg over for a triangle, but he doesn’t have space. Shoulder strike and left hands from Rakic as they fight from Smith’s left side. Smith slaps the head as Rakic backs off, and Rakic comes right back to smother him and end the round with short shots.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 for Rakic.
Round 2: Rakic goes right back to the lead leg, and throws a knee up the middle as Smith advances. Smith with an overhand right after taking a few kicks, and he drives to the fence. Lateral drop from Smith misses, and Rakic takes advantage to assume top position on mat. Half-gutterfly from Smith, and Rakic goes body-head. Smith wraps the head, and again sets up for a triangle. Rakic sees it coming and pulls back. Ground and pound from Rakic, and Smith tries to elevate him with butterfly hooks. Rakic maintaining position, but not doing a whole lot of damage. Just enough to keep the fight moving. Rakic pushes them to the cage and elbows the body. Smith wraps him up. Short elbow and Smith tries to cage walk for a scramble before Herb Dean warns him for toes in the fence. Back to guard, and Rakic is again working short shots. Dean warns for action, and Smith tries to scramble. Rakic sits up as Smith scoots his back against the fence. Rakic punching down with short time, and Smith’s replies aren’t much. Time runs out with Rakic in dominant position.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 for Rakic, who’s up 20-18.
Round 3: Rakic rips the leg and Smith swings wide. A flurry of punches and kicks sends Smith reeling back. Rakic wraps the head briefly, and Smith drives forward for a takedown. Instead, he looses his footing and winds up again on his back against the cage. Looks like a repeat of round two, with Rakic on top in half-guard, punching with his free right hand. Rakic’s fight to lose. Dean calls for action. Smith scoots back to sit up, and Rakic grabs the arm to flatten him out. Smith to his hands and knees as Rakic knees. Smith almost up, and Rakic hanging on him, driving knees to the legs. Smith goes back to his knees and tries to fight hands. He’s almost in position to drive up, but Rakic is all over him. More big knees to his legs. Smith finally makes it to his feet and hands, and Rakic with a body lock changes directions and puts him back down. With one minute left, Rakic is taking this one away. He again flattens out Smith and assumes half-guard, punching with his free hand. Smith is avoiding he worst of the damage. Rakic gets up with 10 seconds left and jumps into the air, raising his hands in celebration. Only one issue: There’s still eight or so seconds left. Smith is too exhausted to give chase, so the whole fight ends in an awkward resolution as both fighters back off the gas and head back to their corners.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8 for Rakic, who gets the 30-26 decision.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Aleksandar Rakic def. Anthony Smith via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)