Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Anthony Smith Reacts To Odds For Ankalaev Fight: “That’s Criminal”

UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith has a bone to pick with the oddsmakers having seen the line for his upcoming fight against Magomed Ankalaev.

At UFC 277 late next month, two top-five contenders will look to their stake their claim to the next title shot. Following Jiří Procházka’s memorable crowning in Singapore, two options for his first defense have been heavily discussed: an immediate rematch with Glover Teixeira or an all-European collision with Jan Blachowicz.

In Dallas on July 30, one of Ankalaev or Smith will likely insert themselves in that discussion, and with an impressive display, perhaps surpass the Brazilian and the Pole in the eyes of the UFC.

The man heavily favored to do so is Ankalaev. The Dagestani has torn through his competition so far in the UFC, amassing an 8-1 record inside the Octagon. The only blemish on that slate came on debut when Ankalaev suffered a submission loss to Paul Craig with just one second left of a fight he was winning.

Having breezed past Nikita Krylov and Volkan Oezdemir, as well as emerged victorious over Thiago Santos in his first main event appearance earlier this year, Ankalaev is tipped for big things, which is reflected in the odds for his fight with Smith.

Per, Ankalaev currently sits as a -450 favorite, with “Lionheart” carrying underdog status at +350. Reacting to those odds during an interview with The Schmo, Smith, a former title challenger, branded them as “criminal.”

“+350? Go get your money. +350? That’s crazy,” said Smith. “That’s criminal. Goddamn. You hear that? [gestures behind camera] +350. That is crazy. If I was fighting goddamn Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou at the same time, I (still) shouldn’t be f*cking +350, that’s crazy.”

52-fight veteran Smith has experienced the highs and lows in MMA and has shared the cage with the best during his time under the UFC banner.

Following a failed title bid against Jon Jones and quick rebound victory over Alexander Gustafsson in 2019, “Lionheart” went through one of the rougher patches of his career, losing back-to-back fights in the UFC for the very first time.

But since tough setbacks to former champ Glover Teixeira and top-five contender Aleksandar Rakić, Smith has returned to contention by halting the surge of Jimmy Crute and picking up a pair of main event victories over Devin Clark and Ryan Spann.

With that in mind, Smith is a difficult man to count out, something he’ll hope to prove by spoiling the plans of Ankalaev at UFC 277.

Do you agree with Anthony Smith? Is he being regarded as too big of an underdog for his fight against Magomed Ankalaev?

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