With just under ten seconds left on the clock in his three round main event against Anthony Smith, Aleksandar Rakic stood up out of Smith’s guard – where he had spent the majority of the fight, slowly working his opponent over – raised an arm, and took a half victory lap around the Octagon. Smith followed him briefly, unwilling to sell out on a potential final burst of offense in an otherwise terrible showing.
It was a fittingly one-sided ending to a one sided fight. Rakic celebrating as the final seconds ticked off, Smith resigned, already defeated.
Following the UFC Vegas 8 event, the Austrian explained why he chose to knock off work early and “give something for the audience.”
“I love to do a little bit of a show, but only if I deserve it, and I think I deserved to put on a show like this,” Rakic said during the post fight press conference (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I saw the clock, and I saw, OK, seven seconds left and so I go, OK, I’m going to stand up and celebrate a little bit.
“Because he was already done. He was already done. He didn’t even want to stand up, and then he stood up. It’s the fight business, but we also want to give something for the audience.”
As an overall product, unfortunately, (and especially coupled with a lackluster co-main) the fight wasn’t much of a viewing treat. Upcoming challenger for Jon Jones’ now-vacated light heavyweight belt, Dominick Reyes gave the action some Twitter play-by-play, calling the performance ‘lame’ and ‘uneventful.’
Rakic, however, feels that he delivered a ‘great performance’ and is ready to fight for the title. As far as he’s concerned it sounds like everything went exactly the way he’d prepared and wanted it to go. With a heavy focus on pressure, and keeping a heavy top game.
“I worked hard on my wrestling and putting pressure on him,” Rakic explained. “I made him really tired. I heard in the second and third how he was breathing heavy. The plan was, don’t rush and don’t go for the submissions. If he gave me something really, really, then I’d go for it. The goal was to dominate, put pressure, and to win.”
Whether or not that kind of victory actually gets him a chance to fight for the belt remains to be seen. Rakic added that he’s prepared to take a five round main event to prove his mettle as a true contender if that’s what the UFC wants. Likely that will all boil down to the outcome of Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira in the coming weeks and whether the winner of that bout comes away with a more electrifying win than the one Rakic posted on Saturday.
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