After moving to light heavyweight in the middle of 2018, Anthony Smith made himself a household name almost immediately with first-round knockouts of legends Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua. That’d eventually lead to a title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 235, but after losing to Jones and losing to Glover Teixeira in May, Smith is looking to get back on track at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic on Saturday night. And with both FanDuel and DraftKings running dozens of UFC daily Fantasy tournaments, cash games and 50-50s, UFC DFS players will be searching for the perfect combinations for their UFC DFS lineups.
Neil Magny and Alexa Grasso are both ranked in their respective divisions and they’re listed as big favorites in the UFC Fight Night odds from William Hill, so they’re likely to be popular options in the UFC DFS fighter pool for Saturday. Meanwhile, Smith is a big underdog and he’s far cheaper than his opponent Aleksandar Rakic on both sites. That means there is the potential to find some value if you’re willing to take a risk on a fighter who has lost two of three fights coming into this weekend. Before locking in your UFC DFS picks for Saturday, be sure to see the latest UFC DFS advice from SportsLine’s Mike McClure.
McClure is a predictive data engineer and DFS pro with almost $2 million in career winnings. He’s crushed his DFS selections recently, producing tournament rosters that have cashed huge in multiple sports over the past few years.
At UFC Fight Night: Munhoz vs. Edgar last Saturday, McClure was all over Joe Solecki as one of his top picks. The result: Solecki scored a first-round submission win over Austin Hubbard, and anybody who followed McClure’s advice was well on their way to building a winning lineup.
Now, McClure has set his sights on Saturday’s stacked UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic card. You can only see his optimal UFC DFS picks and strategy here.
Top UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic DFS predictions
For UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic, McClure is high on Aleksandar Rakic at $8,700 on DraftKings and $23 on FanDuel. The 28-year-old Austrian fighter began his career with a loss but then ripped off 12 consecutive victories before losing a devastating split decision to Volkan Oezdemir last December.
Plenty of people, including Rakic, thought that fight was scored incorrectly and having come off two first-round knockouts in the two fights immediately preceding that loss, Rakic will be eager to prove he’s still one to watch in the light heavyweight division. Rakic outstrikes his opponents significantly throughout his UFC career, landing 5.17 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 2.41 per minute. He’s also stuffed 88 percent of takedown attempts which should help him avoid Smith’s submission attempts.
Part of McClure’s optimal UFC DFS strategy also includes rostering Magomed Ankalaev ($9,000 on DraftKings, $19 on FanDuel). Since losing his UFC debut to Paul Craig, Ankalaev has been on a mission, recording four consecutive victories and knocking out Ion Cutelaba in the first round of his last fight back in February.
Ankalaev will take on Cutelaba again in this fight and his striking advantage is pretty clear. Ankalaev lands 3.46 significant strikes per minute while defending against 68 percent of strike attempts and taking just 1.24 significant strikes per minute throughout his UFC career. He also has an 86 percent career takedown defense should Cutelaba look to mix things up by taking the fight to the ground.
How to make UFC DFS picks
McClure is also targeting a value fighter who is a must-roster because his fight is a huge mismatch. This pick could be the difference between cashing huge in MMA DFS or going home with nothing. You can see all of McClure’s MMA DFS picks and advice here.
So what are the optimal DraftKings and FanDuel picks for UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic on Saturday? And which value fighter needs to be in your lineup? Visit SportsLine now to see DFS millionaire Mike McClure’s complete optimal picks for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card and cash in big on MMA DFS.