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  • Postado em 1 de setembro, 2019

    Two of the top-ranked light heavyweight contenders in the entire world are set to square off at the spring, and below are my initial thoughts on this pivotal matchup at 205lbs.
    Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Smith, UFC Fight Night 152
    With both men coming off of reductions to Jon Jones in their past respective excursions, the UFC matchmakers have gone ahead and matched up Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith for the main event of UFC Fight Night 152. The card occurs June 1 in Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, and this five-round headlining bout was first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
    At first glance, this is a fight which makes sense with both guys needing to rebound following their losses to Jones. Gustafsson suffered a TKO defeat to Jones in the main event of UFC 232, while Smith dropped a lopsided decision to Jones at UFC 235. Together with the UFC having a main event because of its return to Sweden, it naturally made sense for Gustafsson to headline the card, and for Smith it’s an opportunity to acquire another major event fight after decades of being a journeyman from the game.
    At precisely the same time, however, it is very surprising to see Smith get back into the cage soon and sign up a bout agreement not two weeks after having beat up real good by Jones at UFC 235. Smith didn’t mount much crime in that struggle and bore the brunt about 25 minutes of Jones’ attacks, and later said he wished to take time off to rest and unwind after a busy schedule in 2018 and 2019. Clearly, however, the allure of becoming another main event slot against a leading competition like Gustafsson was too much for Smith to pass on.
    Gustafsson (18-5) is 10-5 overall from the UFC and prior to the loss to Jones had won back conflicts over Glover Teixeira and Jan Blachowicz. Always a bridesmaid, Gustafsson has been among the top contenders at 205lbs for much of the 2010s but hasn’t been able to acquire the title despite three fractures at it, two against Jones and one against Daniel Cormier. Smith (31-14) is 7-4 overall from the UFC but is 3-1 since moving up to light heavyweight, with wins over Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Rashad Evans and Volkan Oezdemir winning him a shot at Jones. He showed against Jones that he is simply not about the champ’s degree, but he still remains a very solid contender at 205lbs.
    In terms of the opening betting line with this fight, I feel the oddsmakers will place Gustafsson as the favorite here, although I doubt he opens over 2-to-1. Smith has revealed since moving up to light heavyweight he has more knockout power and durability in his new weight class, and I wouldn’t completely count him from this fight. However, Gustafsson is the skilled fighter and will of course be fighting in his hometown which should give him an increase. Regardless of who wins, this should be a very exciting matchup between two of the top dogs in the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
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