This week’s UFC card has two title-fight rematches, with the question being whether the outcome will be different in either or both. But there are also several future title contenders inside the Octagon on Saturday, and I like one in particular in the light heavyweight division.
Magomed Ankalaev (-460) vs. Anthony Smith (+ 370)
Identifying a parlay anchor is always useful. You can pair one with other heavy favorites for a better return or with one mildly priced fighter to get even or plus money. This week, Ankalaev falls into the anchor role.
Ankalaev will have a variety of advantages over the veteran Smith, and a win over another former title contender might be all he needs to put him in line for a title shot. Though Smith has been a willing striker, even against top talent, he’ll likely be outclassed by Ankalaev. The Dagestani fighter is more accurate, takes less damage in return and has nearly twice the knockdown power of Smith. You’ll also see him use a heavy mix of body kicks.
Up close, the advantages are stronger for Ankalaev. He has dominant clinch control, which has been an area of weakness for Smith, and is more likely to take the fight down, where he’s shown better position control. He’s expensive but appears to be worth supporting.
Play: Ankalaev to win, and use him in parlays