The best and worst from UFC Fight Night 153: Gustafsson vs. Smith
On a night which also featured the UEFA Champions League final and the Anthony Joshua/Andy Ruiz fight, a throwaway UFC show from Stockholm was never going to garner much hype, and so Fight Night 153: Gustafsson vs. Smith was definitely flying under the radar.
What we got in the end was, well, fine I guess. A handful of genuinely fantastic finishes – and a surprising retirement – punctuated the card, but there were also plenty of completely forgettable, albeit not bad per se fights on offer too.
Will anyone remember most of this come next week’s big pay-per-view? Probably not, to be honest, but some fighters saw their stock rise anyway.
Here are the best and worst moments from UFC Fight Night 153: Gustafsson vs. Smith.
#1 Best: Rakic’s brutal head kick
I picked Austrian prospect Aleksandar Rakic to beat Jimi Manuwa in one of the card’s pivotal Light-Heavyweight bouts last night, feeling Rakic’s durability would give him the edge over a fighter who’s become somewhat of a glass cannon recently, with some vicious power in his strikes but a distinct issue with being able to endure punishment.
I also expected a tough fight for the Austrian, but instead what we got was a total blowout.
Rakic landed a head kick in a striking transition with just 42 seconds gone, and that was that. The kick sounded like a gunshot and Manuwa was unsurprisingly left unconscious on impact. The chin of ‘Poster Boy’ couldn’t really be questioned here, too – I doubt anyone else in the division would’ve survived such a clean, powerful shot either.
How far Rakic can go in this division is an interesting question. This win over Manuwa should put him in the top ten, and will also put him up with the likes of Dominick Reyes and Johnny Walker as potential challengers to Jon Jones’ crown in the future.
Whether he can make it that far is anyone’s guess but this was a contender for knockout of the year and was definitely the highlight of the show.