The UFC has reserved argubaly the top 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 235 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 record about the bout, with UFC president Dana White confirming the information together. The holdup now is that Jones still needs to receive his license in 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 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 in UFC 235 in the co-main occasion. 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 this bout would be that Woodley deserves to be favored based on the fact he is the defending champion, but I give Usman a great shot to win the title.
So far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it’s clearly the ideal struggle to reserve and it’s fantastic news the UFC is creating this fight instead of Jones against Corey Anderson, which wouldn’t have been a competitive struggle. At least Smith gets the finishing capability to make things interesting, though Jones will presumably still enter this battle as a massive betting favorite due to his unbelievable record and just how great he looked in his return bout against Alexander Gustafsson in UFC 232, which he won via third-round KO.
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) has an incredible 17-1, 1 NC record from the Octagon which includes win over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson double, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all accounts, he has among the best resumes we have ever seen in the game and he has looked pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save to get an extremely 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 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 center of 2018. He has defeated Shogun, Evans and at his last finish Volkan Oezdemir all by end, earning a title shot because of his unbelievable run at 205lbs.
As great as Smith has appeared at light hearted, it is still impossible 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 search for Jones to be about a -500 favored for this battle, and considering Smith has been completed 14 times in his profession there’s a good chance Jones stops him in this battle.
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