Best bets for UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic

    Reed Kuhn is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and strategy and analytics consultant. He is the author of “Fightnomics: The Hidden Numbers and Science in Mixed Martial Arts,” the first book to quantify drivers and performance metrics in combat sports.

The abdication of the light heavyweight title by Jon Jones leaves the division suddenly up for grabs. The first fighters to get a shot at the title in a post-Jones era have already been decided, yet the division suddenly feels refreshed with a pool of contenders ready to get in line before the year is over. That includes some who previously lost to Jones, such as Anthony Smith, as well as others who appeared to be on an early run toward a title shot, including Aleksandar Rakic.

Both men in Saturday’s main event took a loss in their last appearance, but both are still clinging to a respectable top-10 ranking. That means whoever wins here will be waiting for the dust to settle among the top four ranked fighters (Dominick Reyes, Thiago Santos, Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira), all of whom compete against one another next month.

The lower-ranked fighter in the main event is also a clear betting favorite.

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