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Jimi Manuwa vs. Aleksandar Rakic - 6/1/19 UFC Fight Night 153 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Jimi Manuwa vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Date & Time Saturday June 1, 2019, 2:30 PM (EDT)
Location
Ericsson Globe
Stockholm, Sweden
The Line
The Line: Rakic -196 / Manuwa +174 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
ESPN+
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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jimi Manuwa and Aleksandar Rakic fight Saturday during UFC Fight Night 153 at the Ericsson Globe.

Jimi Manuwa enters this fight with a 17-5 record and has won 88 percent of his fights by knockout. Manuwa has lost five of his last eight fights and is coming off a December loss to Thiago Santos. Manuwa is averaging 3.44 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 54 percent. Manuwa is averaging 0.54 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 19 percent. Manuwa is coming off a fight in which he tried to trade with a devastating power striker and was knocked out in the second round after eating a left hand. Manuwa has now lost each of his last three fights and is looking for his first victory in over two years. Manuwa is too talented to be struggling the way he has, as he has really strong knockout power, a reach of 79.5 inches and is a polished boxer with a background in Muay Thai.  On paper, Manuwa is somebody who should be making noise in the light heavyweight division. The problem is Manuwa its caught trading far too often and it’s led to four of his five losses being knockouts. Without being completely comfortable in anything other than standup striking, it just feels like his opponents have caught up to his style, which is why it doesn’t feel like he’s the same fighter who entered the UFC many years ago. This will be Manuwa’s first career fight in Sweden.

Aleksandar Rakic enters this fight with a 11-1 record and has won 73 percent of his fights by knockout. Rakic has won each of his last 11 fights and is coming off a December win over Devin Clark. Rakic is averaging 5.31 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Rakic is averaging 1.32 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 60 percent. Rakic is fresh off an impressive first round knockout where he caught his opponent with a right elbow, which was a combination of instincts and luck. Either way, Rakic hasn’t lost a fight since his pro debut nearly eight years ago, and he’s now 3-0 under the UFC banner. Rakic is a technical fighter with a background in boxing and kickboxing, and he’s very smart on his feet to where he doesn’t take a lot of damage. Rakic is an accurate striker who picks his spots well and he’s quite quick with his hands for somebody who is so lengthy at 6’6”. Rakic has also improved his grappling skills over the years and has displayed a highly effective ground and pound throughout his first three fights in the UFC. This will be Rakic’s first career fight in Sweden.

You’d be a fool to give up on Manuwa given his skill set, but at some point he has to show more versatility in the octagon and has to become a smarter fighter. At 39 years old, it’s probably safe to say Manuwa is what he is at this point. Rakic may still be a little green when it comes to fighting quality competition, but the kid has the goods to continue rising up the ranks. Rakic is a smart fighter on his feet who exposes his opponents weaknesses and he defends takedowns well. If Manuwa thinks he can take the same approach by trading with Rakic and hoping he lands a power shot, he’s probably going to lose his fourth straight fight.

Rakic is simply the smarter fighter and somebody I have far more confidence in at this moment. Look for him to keep this winning streak going for another bout.

Pick:
Aleksandar Rakic -196

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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