The UFC has reserved argubaly the top fighter in the world for a quick-turnaround bout, and I’ll offer my thoughts on this new matchup in the present MMA odds and ends.
UFC 235 vs. Anthony Smith, jon Jones UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will put his belt on the line against Anthony Smith in UFC 235, which takes place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. TMZ was the first to report on the bout, with UFC president Dana White affirming the news with them. The holdup now is that Jones still needs to receive his permit in the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should occur later this month later he’s got a hearing about his contentious failed drug test for picograms before UFC 232.
The information of Jones vs. Smith being reserved for UFC 235 came along with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reporting which Kamaru Usman is set to combat UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in UFC 235 in the co-main occasion. I wrote about that matchup in last week’s MMA odds and ends, which you may read here. The cole’s notes version of my thoughts on that bout are that Woodley deserves to be preferred based on the fact he is the defending champion, but that I give Usman a great shot to win the title.
As far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it’s clearly the ideal fight to reserve and it’s good news the UFC is creating this battle instead of Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, which wouldn’t happen to be a competitive struggle. At least Smith has the ending ability to make matters interesting, though Jones will presumably still enter this fight as a massive betting favorite due to his incredible record and how great he looked in his return bout against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, he won via third-round KO.
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) has an incredible 17-1, 1 NC album in the Octagon that includes triumph over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson twice, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all reports, he’s one of the best resumes we’ve ever seen in the sport and he has appeared pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save to get a very controversial DQ defeat to Matt Hamill nearly a decade ago now in December 2009. Smith (31-13) is among the most-improved fighters in the UFC. After racking up a 4-3 document as a middleweight through two separate stints in the UFC, Smith has exploded into stardom as a light heavyweight since moving up a weight class in the middle of 2018. He has defeated Shogun, Evans and in his very last finish Volkan Oezdemir all by finish, making a title shot for his unbelievable run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has appeared at light hearted, it’s still not possible to prefer him to beat Jones, who has revealed very few flaws in his game since making his UFC debut over a decade ago. I’d search for Jones to be about a -500 favorite for this fight, and considering Smith has been finished 14 times in his career there’s a good chance Jones stops him in this fight.
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