The Ultimate Fighting Championship series moves to Sweden this weekend as UFC Fight Night 153 takes place at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Those purchasing tickets are guaranteed a thrilling night of Mixed Martial Arts action on Saturday as a sell-out arena looks on. Here are our top Alexander Gustafsson v Anthony Smith betting tips.
The live coverage provided by BT Sport ensures armchair fans can also sample the best the night has to offer with the main event expected around 8.30pm GMT. A better timeslot than many UFC followers are used to and that should translate into a bigger TV audience.
An Important Bout
A meeting of two former UFC light heavyweight world champions stands as the main event on the card as Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith stand toe-to-toe in a bout that will pave the way for both men involved. The winner of this clash will close the gap between themselves and another shot at the title, moving on to bigger and better things this year, the loser sent back to the drawing board, falling down the rankings and left to contemplate his next move.
There has been much chopping and changing on the undercard as organisers work to put together a decent support act in the face of injury and fighters pulling out. Volkan Oezdemir takes on Ilir Latifi at light heavyweight in the back-up fight and those keeping an eye on the undercard can also enjoy Jimi Manuwa v Alelsandar Rakic, Makwan Amirkhani v Chris Fishgold, Damir Hadzovic v Christos Giagos and Daniel Teymur v Sung Bin Jo.
The preliminary card offers some eye-catching contests for the sport’s purists and the highlights can be viewed on ESPN. The bouts scheduled include Tonya Evinger v Lina Lansberg, Steve Ray v Leonardo Santos, Nick Hein v Frank Camacho, Bea Malecki v Eduarda Santana, Darko Stosic v Devin Clark and Joel Alvarez v Danilo Belluardo.
Bet on the Outcome
Plenty to get through and lovers of the UFC will be kept on the edge of their seats from the opening bell of the live action. We have some real 50/50 match ups on that list and punters can have their say on the outcome of the top fights of the night thanks to bookmakers who offer a range of exciting betting markets.
Pick the winner of each bout and throw a few together to create a punchy accumulator or concentrate on one particular fight and play the specials for your shot at a bigger price. The method of victory market is always popular as backers are tasked with finding the winner of the bout in question as well as how the result will be achieved – KO, submission or points.
A big ask and a bit of research is required here to give yourself the best chance, but the prizes are well worth aiming for. Flick through the form of each of the men involved and you’ll often see a pattern emerge. Is the favourite on a run of knockout wins, or perhaps the underdog usually goes to points and is difficult to get out of there? The odds offered as a reward are well worth the time.
Gustafsson Ranked Number Two in the World
Alexander Gustafsson is a Swedish fighter from Arboga who is currently ranked number two in the world in the light heavyweight division. The 32-year-old has a style showcasing his background fighting boxing, shoot fighting and submission wrestling and he’s also a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Fighting out of Stockholm and representing the Allstars Training Centre, Alexander will target the win needed to propel him towards the number one slot and another shot at the title.
The 6ft 5inch orthodox fighter brings a professional MMA record reading 18 wins from 23 contests with no less than 11 of those victories coming by way of knockout. The spares are divided between four by decision and three by submission and that tally tells those without too much experience of this fighter exactly how he is expected to set-up. He is heavy-handed and liked to rely on some of the skills learned from his boxing background, meaning it would be foolish for opponents to stand in the middle of the octagon and trade with him. Few tend to do so, and those who do meet Gustafsson head-on often pay a hefty price for their troubles.
Alexander has lost five times already with two of those defeats coming by way of knockout, one by submission and two on points. That makes him an exciting fighter to watch and his all-or-nothing approach has won him admirers amongst MMA fans all over the world. He’s an exciting sort who will bag the emphatic win or fall on his sword in the process. Which will we see here? It really is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be great fun finding out.
Favourite Suffers a Mixed Bag of Results
Alexander Gustafsson’s recent record is a mixed bag of results with three wins and four defeats in his last seven bouts. That run started when losing to Jon Jones by decision in Canada on UFC 165. He followed that defeat with a comeback win over Jimi Manuwa in London before suffering back-to-back defeats vs Anthony Johnson in Sweden and Daniel Cormier in Texas. That threatened to knock his career off-track, but the Swede showed his resilience when beating Jan Blachowicz in Germany and Glover Teixeira in Sweden to turn things around.
Despite those two wins, Alexander Gustafsson was last seen ending on the wrong side of the result when beaten by Jon Jones again on UFC 232 in California late last year. That bout was for the vacant UFC light heavyweight championship and Jones got the job done by TKO, courtesy of a barrage of hurtful punches in round three. That means the pressure is now on the Swede to try to salvage his career, although he can take confidence from the fact he’s involved in a competitive division and isn’t too far off the pace.
Will Alexander Gustafsson get back on track with a win to push himself into contention? Bookmakers certainly think so and have The Viking priced up as favourite to win this bout. Followers will have to make do with the 1/3 at Bet365 as there’s not a lot better around, although that does seem to be the general idea in the betting ring at present. Such cramped odds will push many into the method of victory and a KO/TKO cheer is sure to be extremely popular amongst those chasing a bigger price.
No Confidence in the Upset
30-year-old American Anthony Smith is ranked number four in the world by the Ultimate Fighting Championship and knows the importance of winning this fight if he is to close the gap on the main players in the division. The Lionheart from Texas is a 6ft 3inch orthodox who has previous campaigning at middleweight before moving up.
Fighting out of Nebraska, he has a professional record of 31 wins from 45 contests with 17 of those victories coming by way of knockout, 11 submission and to decision. He has 14 losses on his card – eight knockout, four submission and two decision.
Not the kind of stats that’s going to breed confidence amongst backers. Three wins from his last five doesn’t do much to inspire a bet on him winning this fight either but those who fancy a punt on the underdog will get a market best price of 5/2 with William Hill.