The Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada plays host to this weekend’s UFC Fight Night card. Headlining the card is Anthony Smith and Ryan Spann who together boast 49 finishes in their combined 54 wins. In the co-main Ion Cutelaba takes on Devin Clark and Ariane Lipski faces undefeated UFC debutant Mandy ‘Monster’ Bohm. This card is full of finishers and there should be numerous performance of the night contenders. We take a look at my best three bets below.
Anthony Smith is for mine without a doubt the better fighter and the fact remains that every man he has lost to is a title contender. The only man in the UFC that has beat Smith and not earnt a title shot is Anthony Rakic, who arguably is next in line for one at Light Heavyweight. Ryan Spann while entertaining isn’t honestly amazing and hasn’t beaten much so far despite winning nine of his last ten. He was finished by Johnny Walker in a fight he was admittedly dominating but his best wins come against Sam Alvey, who hasn’t won in his last seven bouts and Misha Cirkunov who is 2-3 in his last five….
The more I look at it the more I lean towards Smith. To be honest Anthony Smith is a fighter I have struggled to pick correctly but I don’t see Spann being able to expose Lionheart’s troublesome defense. Spann’s gas tank is also an unknown and Smith can hang in if things get ugly. Remember this is a man who handed his teeth that were knocked out to the ref while he continued to defend strikes on the mat. Spann and Smith go back and forth in the opening round before Smith gets a finish, likely in the second or third.
Kasanganay is a talent, as shown by his 9-1 record and some highlight reel finishes. His opponent, Guyana’s Carlston Harris, is an interesting prospect who in his UFC debut dispatched Christian Aguilera with a bonus winning anaconda choke. Harris is the more polished striker and has the jiu jistu to put Kasanganay away if he shoots for the takedowns. I don’t mind the odds around for the submission win for Harris, so that could be worth a spec, but I will be largely playing it a little safer, tipping Harris to get his hand raised as an underdog.
I truly love this fight for Emily Whitmire. While her 4-4 professional record isn’t for the greatest viewing, she has repeatedly come up short against strong wrestlers, hence all her losses coming by ground finishes. Hannah Goldy relies on striking at range so shouldn’t threaten Whitmire’s takedown defense. Whitmire likes to walk her opponents down and punish them, which bodes well against Goldy who hates being pressured and backs up in a straight line. I expect Whitmire to put on a clinic and likely utilize her own wrestling as Goldy poses limited threat on the mat. Whitmire secures a dominant 30-27 unanimous decision win here.
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