The UFC has reserved argubaly the top fighter in the world to get a quick-turnaround bout, and I will give my thoughts on this 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 at 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 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 after he’s got a hearing about his controversial failed drug test for picograms before UFC 232.
The news of Jones vs. Smith being reserved for UFC 235 came alongside ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reporting that Kamaru Usman is set to combat UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in UFC 235 at the co-main occasion. 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 that bout would be that Woodley deserves to be favored based on the fact he’s the defending champion, but I give Usman a great shot to win the title.
So far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it’s obviously the right fight to reserve and it is good news the UFC is creating this fight instead of Jones against Corey Anderson, that wouldn’t happen to be a competitive struggle. At least Smith gets the finishing ability to make things interesting, though Jones will still enter this fight as a gigantic betting favorite due to his unbelievable album and just 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 record from the Octagon which includes triumph over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson double, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all accounts, he’s one of the best resumes we’ve ever seen in the sport and he’s looked pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save for an extremely 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 record as a middleweight during 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 at his last conclusion Volkan Oezdemir all by end, making a title shot because of his unbelievable run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has appeared at light hearted, it’s still not possible to favor him to beat Jones, that has revealed very few flaws in his game since making his UFC debut over a decade ago. I would look for Jones to be about a -500 favorite for this battle, and contemplating Smith has been completed 14 times in his profession there’s a good chance Jones stops him in this battle.
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