- What: UFC Vegas 83
- Who: Anthony Smith vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
- Date: Saturday, December 9, 2023
- Location: UFC Apex
- Time: Prelims (TBA) Main Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: ESPN+
The fight the UFC initially booked to headline its return to Shanghai was moved to Las Vegas in early November. The matchup, which now serves as the main event of UFC Vegas 83, is a bantamweight scrap between top-15-ranked fighters Song Yadong and Chris Gutierrez. Before that matchup, former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith steps up on short notice to face Khalil Rountree Jr. in the evening’s co-main event. Here is some information on Anthony Smith and Khalil Rountree Jr. before we discuss the betting breakdown for the UFC Vegas 83 fight card.
Anthony Smith (37-18) is currently the No. 8 fighter in the official UFC light heavyweight rankings. He recently ended a two-fight losing skid with a split-decision win over Ryan Spann in August.
Khalil Rountree Jr (12-5-0-1) is riding a four-fight winning streak ahead of UFC Vegas 83. That run follows a stretch where Rountree went 1-3 between late 2018 and early 2021. He is the No. 11 fighter in the official UFC 205-pound rankings.
Anthony Smith vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. betting odds
|Khalil Rountree Jr.
Anthony Smith vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. betting breakdown
On paper, the matchup between Anthony Smith and Khalil Rountree Jr. looks like two veteran fighters heading in opposite directions in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Smith took then-UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to a decision in March 2019. His record since then is 5-5. Meanwhile, Rountree, who started his UFC run with a 4-5-0-1 record, is 4-0 since September 2021 with three knockouts and two “Performance of the Night” bonuses.
Smith is a well-rounded fighter who excels on the mat. However, he has struggled as of late with leg kicks, something he addressed after a loss to Johnny Walker, “There is a glaring hole in my game, and it’s no longer a hole. It’s the leg kicks become a liability at this point. It’s not even a hole in my game anymore. It’s a liability.” That does not bode well for Smith against a fighter in Rountree, who has a TKO win via leg kicks.
Rountree is a striker. He is powerful and effective and can mix up his targets and techniques. If he can force Smith to fight a full striking battle, he has the tools, confidence, and power to dominate the fight. However, if Smith can get the action to the mat, things could get dicey for Rountree in this matchup.
Anthony Smith vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. statistical breakdown
Physically, Smith is three inches taller than Rountree at 6-foot-4. However, both fighters have a 76-inch reach. Smith’s length could give Rountree difficulty in landing his leg kicks.
Rountree is a more active striker, landing 3.73 significant strikes per minute to Smith’s 3.16, but Smith is the more accurate striker, connecting on 48 percent of his attempts, while Rountree lands on 38 percent of the strikes he throws. Both fighters get hit more than they land, with Smith absorbing 4.45 significant strikes per minute compared to Rountree’s 4.16.
Grappling could be a problem for Rountree. He has a takedown defense of 56 percent, while Smith averages 0.52 takedowns per 15 minutes with a takedown accuracy of 28 percent. Throughout his UFC career, Rountree has a 0.00 takedown average per 15 minutes.
Best Bets for UFC Vegas 83 co-main event: Anthony Smith vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
If Smith employs a grappling-over-everything approach to this matchup, the fight is likely his to win. However, Smith tends to fight on the feet more than he should. With that in mind, I expect Rountree to attack his opponent’s legs early and often. That will slow down Smith and eventually leave him open for Rountree to put the fight away by stoppage. The betting pick is for Rountree to win via knockout in the second half of the contest.
Best UFC Vegas 83 co-main event betting pick – Khalil Rountree to beat Anthony Smith via knockout.
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