Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith UFC Betting: Will Smith be no match for Ankalaev?

Frank Monkhouse

UFC 277 rolls into Houston, Texas, with the American Airlines Center staging another gripping night of professional mixed martial arts bouts. The main card consists of five bouts, starting with a matchup between Anthony Smith and Magomed Ankalaev.

There is something on the UFC 277 card for everyone, with several weight divisions and fighting styles covered. The main attraction will be the Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes rematch, which promises to be a cracker.

Here, we focus on one of the lead-ins as two top light heavyweight fighters meet.

The pre-fight betting suggests Ankalaev need only turn up and go through the motions to get the win, and there’s no doubt that he’s good enough to claim another scalp. But followers of MMA – and the UFC in particular – know never to write a gladiator off as Smith aims to cause an upset and climb the ranks.

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith Fight Information

  • Anthony Smith is a 34-year-old fighter from Texas, meaning he will be backed by the huge support inside the stadium on fight night.
  • Magomed Ankalaev is a 30-year-old warrior from Dagestan in Russia, and, as any UFC fan will already know, that means he can fight.
  • Both men are ranked in the top five by the UFC at light heavyweight, meaning the winner will progress towards a title shot.
  • Venue & Location: American Airlines Center (Houston, Texas)
  • Start Time: approximately 10:20 p.m. Eastern Time (9:20 p.m. local time)

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith Odds

Odds are from Caesars Sportsbook.

Moneyline

  • Magomed Ankalaev -550
  • Anthony Smith +400

Total Rounds Over/Under

  • Over 2.5 Rounds (-145)
  • Under 2.5 Rounds (+115)

Will the Fight Go the Distance?

  • Yes -130
  • No +100

Lionheart primed for battle

Anthony Smith may be the rank outsider with all major bookies to win this fight, but the traders have been somewhat harsh on the American here on merit.

Smith is a 34-year-old Texan known as Lionheart due to his fearless approach and willingness to take on all comers, including the much-avoided Ankalaev.

He is a former middleweight who progressed to light heavyweight without much fuss, climbing to fifth in the UFC rankings and within touching distance at a shot for the title. Win on Saturday before his adoring fans, and we could see Smith cut the line and set up a crack at the champion later this year or early in 2023.

Anthony will see this as a night when he has nothing to lose, making him a dangerous opponent. All the talk during the build-up to this contest has focussed on his opponent, allowing Smith to fly under the radar, preparing free from the media’s attention.

Last five fights for Anthony Smith

  • Won via submission
  • Won via TKO
  • Won via submission
  • Lost on points
  • Lost via TKO

Smith brings winning form

Looking through Smith’s most recent form, it becomes apparent why the bookies are in a rush to write him off. The home fighter has lost two of his last five, with those defeats coming back-to-back. Glover Teixeira took him out in Florida before losing on points to Aleksandar Rakic in Las Vegas before turning it around.

Despite the pain of those two defeats at a crucial stage of his career, Anthony had no problems getting back to winning ways, and he steps into the cage on fight night with confidence. He has won each of his last three bouts, claiming a performance of the night bonus in two of those bouts.

Each of his three wins has come inside the distance, scoring a submission victory over Devin Clark before stopping Jimmy Crute inside a round on UFC 261. We last saw Smith scoring a submission win against Ryan Spann in Vegas, another performance of the night show.

Ankalaev is a feared fighter

Magomed Ankalaev is one of the most feared fighters on the UFC’s light heavyweight roster at the minute, and that goes some way to explaining why the major online sportsbooks don’t want to oppose him. The odds suggest he has already won, but Magomed is a professional and won’t be taking anything for granted.

He is a Russian fighter who enters this bout sitting fourth in the division’s rankings but knows that at just 30 years old, he has time on his side. If Ankalaev continues to work hard, stay active and keep winning, it’s only a matter of time before he gets his big break.

Fighting out of the renowned Gorets team in Dagestan, everything about Magomed suggests he has a big future in the UFC, and we are looking forward to seeing him back in action. This will be his second outing of the year, and that desire to keep busy won him many fans.

Last five fights for Magomed Ankalaev

  • Won on points
  • Won on points
  • Won on points
  • Won via KO
  • Won via TKO

Will it be a fourth straight points win for Ankalaev?

Magomed is a fighter with a solid background in Greco-Roman wrestling, which makes him just about as tough as they come. He is strong, fit and fast, able to turn a fight in his favour in the blink of an eye, making him a joy to watch.

His CV shows Magomed has a professional MMA record of 17 wins against just one defeat, with nine wins by knockout and eight on points with no submission wins to his name so far. That helps us narrow down the list when making our method of victory predictions.

Looking at his last three outings, we see Ankalaev has claimed all three on the scorecards, and it would come as no surprise to see him bag a fourth in Texas.

Fighting against both Smith and the crowd, the Russian will be eager to stay tight and stick to his wrestling game, where he will hurt Smith on the ground. We fancy yet another points win at decent odds.

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith Betting Tip: Ankalaev to win on points (-110 at Caesars Sportsbook)

Frank Monkhouse
Frank Monkhouse