The UFC has booked argubaly the very best fighter in the world to get a quick-turnaround bout, and I will offer my thoughts on this brand 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, together with UFC president Dana White confirming the information with them. The holdup now is that Jones still wants to get his permit in the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should occur later this month later he has a hearing regarding his controversial failed drug test for picograms before UFC 232.
The news of Jones vs. Smith being reserved for UFC 235 came along with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reporting that Kamaru Usman is set to fight 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 thoughts on that bout would be that Woodley deserves to be preferred based on the fact he’s the defending champion, but that I provide Usman a great chance to win the title.
As far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it is clearly the ideal fight to reserve and it’s good news the UFC is making this fight rather than Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, that would not have been a competitive fight. At least Smith gets the finishing ability to make matters interesting, though Jones will presumably still enter this battle as a gigantic betting favorite due to his incredible record and how great 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 which includes triumph over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson twice, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all accounts, he has among the greatest resumes we’ve ever seen in the game and he’s appeared pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save to get a very controversial DQ defeat to Matt Hamill almost 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 record as a middleweight through two different 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 very last conclusion Volkan Oezdemir all by finish, earning a title shot for his incredible run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has appeared at light hearted, it’s still not possible to favor him to conquer Jones, who has shown hardly any flaws in his game since making his UFC debut over a decade ago. I would search for Jones to be about a -500 favorite for this battle, and considering Smith has been completed 14 times in his career there is a good opportunity Jones stops him in this battle.
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