The UFC has reserved argubaly the top fighter in the world for a quick-turnaround bout, and I will 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 record about the bout, together with UFC president Dana White confirming the information with them. The holdup now is that Jones still wants to receive his license in the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should happen later this month after he has 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 that Kamaru Usman is set to combat UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 at the co-main event. 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 would be that Woodley deserves to become favored based on the fact he’s the defending champion, but I provide Usman a great shot to win the title.
So far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it is clearly the ideal fight to reserve and it’s fantastic news the UFC is creating this battle instead of Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, which wouldn’t have been a competitive struggle. At least Smith gets the ending ability to make things interesting, though Jones will still enter this battle as a massive betting favorite due to his unbelievable record and 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 incredible 17-1, 1 NC record in the Octagon that includes win over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson double, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all reports, he has among the best resumes we have ever seen in the sport and he’s appeared pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save to get an extremely controversial DQ defeat to Matt Hamill nearly a decade ago now in December 2009. Smith (31-13) is one of the most-improved fighters in the UFC. After racking up a 4-3 document as a middleweight through two different stints in the UFC, Smith has burst 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 incredible run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has looked at light heavyweight, it is still impossible 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 would look for Jones to be around a -500 favorite for this battle, and contemplating Smith has been completed 14 times in his career there’s a fantastic chance Jones stops him in this battle.
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