UFC 261: Anthony Smith Offers Value Odds as Underdog vs. Rising Star Jimmy Crute
Prediction: Jimmy Crute (-195) vs. Anthony Smith (+165)
There can be little doubt that former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith will give Jimmy Crute his toughest test to date when the pair clash on Saturday.
Crute (12-1) has by no means made his way up the light heavyweight ladder fighting non-names, but the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate is yet to encounter a talent on the level of “Lionheart.” Smith (34-16) enters his first bout of 2021 as the +165 underdog at William Hill, but the 32-year-old warned young gun Crute he’ll be a completely new type of test:
Anthony Smith: "I've fought 10 guys probably exactly like Jimmy Crute"— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) April 21, 2021
Jimmy Crute: "He's never seen Jimmy Crute."
▶️ SMITH: https://t.co/TQwSPKEmuD
▶️ CRUTE: https://t.co/Gf3KUZEgnp pic.twitter.com/StS6l2sIoA
The two fighters are very similar in style, although Crute strikes as the more heavy-handed of the two. Each light heavyweight holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has finely balanced their finish wins to date between submissions and striking stoppages.
Crute’s grappling is no joke despite the fact he’s only 25, too. His only career loss to date came against wrestling phenom Mikhail Cirkunovs due to a Peruvian neck tie, but he does hold a notable submission win over Scottish submission artist Paul Craig.
In the event those ground talents are cancelled out, we can expect to see the more experienced Smith utilise a reach advantage of almost four inches to cancel out Crute’s finishing power. In a manner similar to what Aleksandar Rakić inflicted on him, it also wouldn’t be a surprise if No. 6-ranked Smith looked to low kicks as an early method of neutralising Crute’s base.
Both fighters have proved in the past their ability to go the distance, though Crute’s only experience doing so were two title defenses when part of the Hex Fight Series in his native Australia. The youngster has beaten a couple of elder enemies in his blooming UFC career, but Smith has enough wisdom in deep water to emerge victorious in a drawn-out contest.
Prediction: Anthony Smith to win (+165) by decision