The UFC has reserved argubaly the very best fighter in the world for a quick-turnaround bout, and I’ll give my thoughts on this new matchup in today’s 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 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 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 news of Jones vs. Smith being booked 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 in the co-main event. I wrote about that matchup in a week’s MMA odds and ends, which you may read here. The cole’s notes version of my ideas on this bout are that Woodley deserves to be preferred based on the fact he is the defending champion, but I provide Usman a fantastic chance to win the title.
So far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it’s obviously the ideal struggle to book and it’s good news the UFC is making this battle instead of Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, that would not have been a competitive struggle. At least Smith gets the ending ability to make matters interesting, though Jones will presumably still enter this battle as a massive betting favorite as a result of his unbelievable record and how good he looked in his return bout against Alexander Gustafsson in UFC 232, he won through third-round KO.
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) has an unbelievable 17-1, 1 NC album in the Octagon which includes win over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson twice, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio»Shogun» Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all reports, he has one of the best resumes we have ever seen in the sport and he’s looked 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 record 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’s defeated Shogun, Evans and in his last conclusion Volkan Oezdemir all by end, earning a title shot because of his unbelievable run at 205lbs.
As great as Smith has looked at light hearted, it is still impossible to prefer him to conquer Jones, that has shown very few flaws in his game since making his UFC debut over a decade ago. I would search for Jones to be about a -500 favored for this fight, and contemplating Smith has been completed 14 times in his career there’s a good chance Jones stops him in this fight.
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