The UFC has booked argubaly the very best fighter in the world for a quick-turnaround bout, and I’ll give my thoughts on this new matchup in the present MMA odds and ends.
Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will put his belt on the line against Anthony Smith at UFC 235, which takes place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. TMZ was the first to report about the bout, with UFC president Dana White affirming the news together. The holdup now is that Jones still needs to get his permit from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should happen later this month after 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 fight UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 at the co-main occasion. I wrote about that matchup in a week’s MMA odds and ends, which you can read here. The cole’s notes version of my ideas on that bout are that Woodley deserves to become favored based on the fact he is the defending champion, but that I provide Usman a fantastic chance to win the title.
So far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it’s obviously the ideal fight to reserve and it is fantastic news the UFC is creating this fight rather than Jones against Corey Anderson, that wouldn’t have been a competitive fight. At least Smith has the ending ability to make things interesting, though Jones will still enter this fight as a massive betting favorite due to his incredible album and just how great he looked in his return bout against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, which he won through third-round KO.
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) has an unbelievable 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 among the best resumes we have ever seen in the sport and he’s looked 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 at the UFC, Smith has burst into stardom as a light heavyweight since moving up a weight class in the middle of 2018. He’s defeated Shogun, Evans and at his very last finish Volkan Oezdemir all by end, making a title shot for his incredible run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has appeared at light heavyweight, it is still not possible to prefer him to beat Jones, who has shown hardly any flaws in his game since making his UFC debut over a decade ago. I’d search for Jones to be about a -500 favored for this battle, and contemplating Smith has been finished 14 times in his career there is a good opportunity Jones stops him in this battle.
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