The UFC has reserved argubaly the top fighter in the world to get a quick-turnaround bout, and I’ll offer my thoughts on this brand new matchup in today’s 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 about the bout, with UFC president Dana White confirming the information with them. The holdup now is that Jones still wants to get his license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should occur later this month later he’s got a hearing regarding his controversial failed drug test for picograms before UFC 232.
The news of Jones vs. Smith being booked for UFC 235 came alongside ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reporting which Kamaru Usman is place to fight UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in UFC 235 at the co-main event. 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 this bout are that Woodley deserves to be favored based on the fact he is the defending champion, but that I give Usman a fantastic shot to win the title.
As far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it’s clearly the right fight to reserve and it’s good news the UFC is making this battle rather than Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, which wouldn’t have been a competitive struggle. At least Smith gets the ending ability to make matters interesting, though Jones will presumably still enter this fight as a gigantic betting favorite as a result of his unbelievable record and just how good he looked in his return bout against Alexander Gustafsson in UFC 232, he won via 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 double, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all accounts, he has one of the best resumes we have ever seen in the game and he has looked pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save to get a very controversial DQ defeat to Matt Hamill almost a decade ago currently 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 during 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 in his last finish Volkan Oezdemir all by end, earning a title shot for his incredible run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has appeared at light heavyweight, it is still not possible to favor him to conquer Jones, that has revealed very few flaws in his game since making his UFC debut over a decade ago. I would search for Jones to be around a -500 favored for this battle, and considering Smith has been completed 14 days in his career there’s a good chance Jones stops him in this fight.
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