MMA

UFC 277: Magomed Ankalaev vs Anthony Smith Picks, Predictions, Odds

Anthony Smith vs Magomed Ankalaev
July 30, 2022 10:10 pm EDT
The Line: Magomed Ankalaev -600 / Anthony Smith +400
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Anthony Smith and Magomed Ankalaev fight Saturday in UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center. Smith enters this fight with a 36-16 record and has won 53 percent of his fights by knockout. Ankalaev enters this fight with a 16-1 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. 

Smith has won 7 of his last 10 fights and is coming off a September win over Ryan Spann. Smith is averaging 3.03 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 47 percent. Smith is averaging 0.46 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 28 percent. Smith is coming off a submission win at UFC Fight Night 192 where he landed 18 total strikes and won the performance of the night. Lionheart has now won 3 straight fights, all finishes, and he looks for 4 straight wins for the first time since 2015-16. Smith is an athletic striker who is creative on his feet and has true one-punch knockout power. He’s one of the toughest fighters in the sport, as he can take a punch with the best of them and hangs in there. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago when it looked like Smith was done for, especially during the pandemic against Glover Teixeria. Smith is highly effective with his legs and knees, and he’s comfortable on the canvas, where he has 14 career submission victories. A black belt in BJJ and with his striking ability, Smith is one of the more respected fighters in terms of MMA fans. This will be Smith’s first career fight in Texas, his birth state.

Ankalaev has won his last 8 fights and is coming off a March win over Thiago Santos. Ankalaev is averaging 3.49 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 54 percent. Ankalaev is averaging 1.01 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 33 percent. Ankalaev is coming off a decision win at UFC Fight Night 203 where he landed 114 total strikes and produced a takedown. Ankalaev still hasn’t lost a fight since UFC Fight Night 127, and he’s 8-1 under the UFC banner overall. A tough Russian striker who can take a shot, Ankalaev has power in his hands that’s helped produced 9 knockouts, and he comes from a wrestling background. Ankalaev is quite an athlete who will mix in kicks and isn’t afraid to push the pace on the feet. Ankalaev has also proven to have above-average takedown defense through 9 UFC fights. Ankalaev has very good cardio for a man his size, and it’s helped him win all 8 of his career decisions. Despite his wrestling, Ankalaev has never produced a submission victory. This will be Ankalaev’s first career fight in Texas.

Ankalaev should be the favorite here for obvious reasons, as he’s the younger fighter, better athlete and his wrestling is elite. Ankalaev is also a polished striker with knockout pop. You shouldn’t be in the business of betting against Ankalaev. With all that said, we’re getting 4 times our money with a tough SOB in Smith. A guy who has been counted out many times and just finds ways to get the job done. An underdog against Jimmy Crute, Alexander Gustafsson and Volkan Oezdemir, this isn’t the first time Smith has been disrespected by oddsmakers. It shouldn’t shock anybody if Smith finds a way to prevail here.

The value is there. Give me Smith for another upset. 

Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Anthony Smith +400

Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.
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