We’re back with another prediction and pick for the Co-Main Event of UFC Charlotte: Rozenstruik vs. Almeida. This bout features two household names in the Light Heavyweight (205 lb) Division as both fighters look to climb the title ladder. No. 5 ranked Anthony “Lionheart” Smith will take on the wild Brazilian No. 7 Johnny Walker. You won’t want to blink during this one! Check out our UFC odds series for our Smith-Walker prediction and pick.
Anthony Smith has a record of 36-17 and has gone 11-7 since joining the UFC in 2013. It’ll mark 10 years in the promotion for Smith as he’s been a mainstay atop the Light Heavyweight division for most of his career. He’s challenged for the title and faced some of the division’s best. His last fight was a bad loss to Magomed Ankalaev, but Smith believes he’s got one more title run left in his gas tank before hanging them up. Smith stands 6’4″ with a 76-inch reach.
Johnny Walker has a record of 20-7 and has gone 6-4 since joining the UFC. Walker is one of the most interesting fighters on the roster and his fights are always must-see TV. Known as an erratic striker, Walker has been able to dial it back and pick up some important victories. He’s coming in off back-to-back wins against Paul Craig and Ion Cutelaba and he looks to be in his peak form ahead of this one. Walker stands 6’6″ with an 82-inch reach.
Here are the UFC Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
UFC Charlotte Odds: Anthony Smith-Johnny Walker Odds
Anthony Smith: -110
Johnny Walker: -110
Over (1.5) rounds: +108
Under (1.5) rounds: -136
How to Watch Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker
Stream: UFC Fight Pass, fuboTV
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET/ 12:00 p.m. PT (Main Card)
*Watch sports LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Anthony Smith Will Win
While Anthony Smith has a lifetime of fighting behind him, he’s still only 34 years old and could see a title run in his future if he’s able to hold off the surging Walker. Anthony Smith will fight behind his jab and have his defensive wrestling in the back pocket. He’s very good with his takedown defense and loves to press guys up against the cage. From there, Smith does a great job of maintaining wrist control and dictating the actions of his opponent. On the ground, Smith is a seasoned jiu jitsu practitioner and can lock in a sneaky submission if Walker isn’t careful.
The main concern here with be Anthony Smith’s chin and how it will hold up after the wars he’s been through. He doesn’t react very well to getting hit anymore, so his defense will be a priority against the wild and powerful striking of Walker. If Smith can keep this fight at distance and control the grappling exchanges, he could see himself cruise to a decision victory here. With the total being set at 1.5 rounds, there’s reason to believe that one of these guys will land a knockout blow.
Why Johnny Walker Will Win
Johnny Walker was always known for his wild antics inside the octagon, but he’s been able to dial back the aggression and fight a more measured game. His striking abilities are great and he’s an absolute freak athlete. If Walker can control himself without expending too much energy, he could eventually land a blow that seriously compromises Smith. Smith is a very technical boxer, so Walker will have to keep his hands up and be more defensive than he has in the past. If he can cover up well and open up his striking, he should get this win.
Walker will have the strong advantage with his striking and should look to use it. On the ground, we’ve seen Walker struggle at times to get back to his feet. Against Smith, he won’t be able to waste too much time on his back, so look for Walker to throw up some submission attempts and keep Smith on his toes. If Walker can land just a few clean shots, he should be able to compromise Smith enough to finish the job. Walker does, however, have issues of his own with going to sleep, so he’ll have to be equally careful in defending himself.
Final Anthony Smith-Johnny Walker Prediction & Pick
Anthony Smith is probably the more well-rounded fighter here, but he’s at a point in his career where he’s not able to take shots like he used to. He hasn’t been the same fighter since his fight against Glover Teixeira, so it’s dangerous for him to be facing Walker as he hits his stride. If Walker can be smart, the prediction here is that he’ll get the KO victory over Smith. The odds makers have this as a coin flip, so there’s no telling which guy will impose their will more on Saturday. For the prediction, let’s go with Johnny Walker to get the job done as he’s riding the hotter wave. Either way, you shouldn’t put a ton of stock into either fighter as they both have weathered chins at this point.
Final Anthony Smith-Johnny Walker Prediction & Pick: Johnny Walker (-110)
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