Aleksandar Rakic is favored against Thiago Santos at UFC 259: Adesanya vs. Blachowicz on Saturday, March 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event is one of five fights on the main pay-per-view card. Rakic is 13-2 in his career, while Santos is 21-8 in his career. There are a total of five fights on the main pay-per-view card on UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya, with the headliner a bout between Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya. There are also a total of ten fights on the preliminary card with four on ESPN/ESPN+ and six on ESPN+/ UFC Fight Pass. Let's look at the bout between Rakic and Santos and UFC picks.
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Aleksandar Rakic (13-2, 5-1 UFC)
Rakic came into the UFC with a record of 8-1 and he has five wins and one loss in the UFC. He defeated Francimar Barroso by unanimous decision, Justin Ledet by unanimous decision, Devin Clark by TKO, Jimi Manuwa by KO, and Anthony Smith by unanimous decision; while losing to Volkan Oezdemir by split decision. Rakic has been a pro since 2011 and he has nine wins by TKO/KO and one by submission. He has eight first round finishes.
Rakic said this to essentiallysports.com about his upcoming fight against Santos, "I've proved all my skills and I am more dangerous than that. It's going to be an interesting fight for both of us."
Thiago Santos (21-8, 13-7 UFC)
Santos came into the UFC with a record of 8-1 and he has 13 wins and seven losses in the UFC. In his last six fights, he has four wins and two losses. He defeated Kevin Holland by unanimous decision, Eryk Anders by TKO, Jimi Manuwa by KO, and Jan Blachowicz by TKO; while losing to Jon Jones by split decision and Glover Teixeira by rear-naked choke submission. Santos has been a pro since 2010 and he has 15 wins by TKO/KO and one by submission. He has eight first round finishes.
Santos said this to bloodyelbow.com about his upcoming fight against Rakic, "My biggest weapon against him would be my speed. All of those guys who are really big are also slow. My knockout power (would be another weapon). The danger lies in the first minute that is when he's really strong and explosive. As the fight goes on, I'll start having a certain advantage. I don't really see this fight going the distance. He's an aggressive guy, too. He looks for the knockout. I can't imagine this fight lasting three rounds. I think I can knock him out in the second or the third."
Strikes landed per minute: Rakic 4.66/ Santos 4.36
Striking Accuracy: Rakic 54% / Santos 48%
Strikes absorbed per minute: Rakic 1.99/ Santos 2.32
Defense: Rakic 53% / Santos 55%
Takedown average: Rakic 0.93/ Santos 0.77
Takedown Accuracy: Rakic 28% / Santos 40%
Takedowns defended: Rakic 89% / Santos 64%
Submission average: Rakic 0.2/ Santos 0.1
This has the potential to be one of the best fights on the card. Rakic is an up and coming fighter who could be in line for a title shot soon, while Santos is a veteran who still has a lot left. I understand Rakic being favored, but Santos has the skill and the power to win this fight. I think there is some value in taking Santos in this one at plus money and I also think this one will finish inside the distance, so I will go under the rounds total.
UFC 259: Blachowicz vs. Adesanya Card & Odds
Light Heavyweight - Jan Blachowicz +203 vs. Israel Adesanya -250
Women's Featherweight - Megan Anderson +725 vs. Amanda Nunes -1250
Bantamweight - Aljamain Sterling -115 vs. Petr Yan -109
Light Heavyweight - Thiago Santos +130 vs. Aleksandar Rakic -157
Bantamweight - Casey Kenney -137 vs. Dominick Cruz +113
Lightweight - Drew Dober +280 vs. Islam Makhachev -356
Flyweight - Joseph Benavidez +113 vs. Askar Askarov -137
Welterweight - Jake Matthews +170 vs. Sean Brady -206
Lightweight - Aalon Cruz +147 vs. Uroš Medic -176
Flyweight - Jordan Espinosa -127 vs. Tim Elliott +103
Bantamweight - Kyler Phillips +127 vs. Song Yadong -152
Flyweight - Kai Kara-France -137 vs. Rogério Bontorin +113
Women's Strawweight - Lívia Renata Souza +184 vs. Amanda Lemos -225
Light Heavyweight - Kennedy Nzechukwu +196 vs. Carlos Ulberg -240
Bantamweight - Trevin Jones +191 vs. Mario Bautista -235
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