The first fight on the main card of UFC 261 is a thriller. Anthony Smith is a true veteran in the UFC, as he’ll be participating in his 51st professional fight on Saturday night. He takes one of the UFC’s rising stars in Jimmy Crute, who plans to put himself on the map in the Lightheavyweight division. Let’s take a look at our Smith vs Crute prediction.
Anthony Smith, otherwise known as “Lionheart” likes to keep it on his feet and deliver heavy shots on his opponents. He suffered a tough loss to Jon Jones back in 2019, and since then has gone 2-2. He aims to get back on track and rise the ranks for another title shot in the near future.
Jimmy Crute is fresh to the UFC scene, but he’s been making noise in the MMA world since 2016. After winning 12 straight matchups to start his career, Crute finally received his first loss to Misha Cirkunov by submission. However, he’s strung together two impressive performances since then, winning by submission and knockout in back-to-back bouts.
Let’s take a look at the opening odds the sportsbooks have on this Lightheavyweight matchup.
UFC 261: Smith – Crute
Anthony Smith (+170)
Jimmy Crute (-200)
Over 1.5 rounds (-200)
Under 1.5 rounds (+160)
How Anthony Smith Wins the Fight
Anthony Smith enters the fight as the slight underdog in this one. 50 fights is a ton for anybody no matter their age. He’s gone 2-3 in his last five fights which could mean he’s on his decline. However, Lionheart hasn’t lost his talents by any means. He secured a surprising submission victory in his last matchup, showing off his ground game and proving he still has what it takes to compete against the best.
Smith thrives when the fights stay standing and that’s exactly what he should look to do in this one. With the number of fights under his belt, Smith has the experience necessary to outwork Crute in the cage. Look for “Lionheart” to focus on kickboxing in this one, as focusing on the stand-up game gives him the best chances of securing a win.
How Jimmy Crute Wins the Fight
Crute is about as well-rounded as you can get for being a rising star. Of his 12 career wins, he has five by submission and five by knockout, with the other two going the distance. He has yet to go to the scorecards since joining the UFC and he doesn’t plan to take this fight to the judges on Saturday night.
Due to Smith’s aggressiveness in standing up, Crute’s best strategy might be to take this one to the ground. He’s proven to be dangerous on the mat and can end the fight at any moment with a submission. This is a perfect matchup for him to show off his stand-up skills and to make the Lightheavyweight division respect his ground game as well. Look for Crute to respect Anthony Smith’s power and take this one to the ground.
Anthony Smith vs Jimmy Crute Prediction
This fight could go anyway as both fighters have the tools to end it early. Smith has the knockout power to beat anyone in the cage, while Crute is so well-rounded, he can dictate the fight however he wants. At the end of the day, the youngster should be able to walk away with a win, as he seems ready to climb the ranks of the Lightheavyweight division.
UFC 261 PREDICTION: Jimmy Crute wins by knockout in round two.