The UFC has booked argubaly the very best fighter in the world to get 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 235 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 confirming the information together. The holdup now is that Jones still wants to get his license in the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should occur later this month after he’s got 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 alongside ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reporting which Kamaru Usman is place to combat UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in UFC 235 at the co-main occasion. 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 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 right fight to reserve and it is good news the UFC is making this battle rather than Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, which would not have been a competitive fight. At least Smith has the finishing capability to make things interesting, though Jones will presumably still enter this fight as a massive betting favorite due to his unbelievable album and just how good he looked in his return bout against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, he won via third-round KO.
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) has an incredible 17-1, 1 NC album in 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 has one of the greatest resumes we’ve ever seen in the game and he’s looked pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save for a very controversial DQ defeat to Matt Hamill almost a decade ago currently 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 has defeated Shogun, Evans and in his very last conclusion Volkan Oezdemir all by end, earning a title shot for his incredible run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has looked at light hearted, it’s still not possible to favor him to beat Jones, who has revealed hardly any 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 fight, and contemplating Smith has been finished 14 times in his career there is a good chance Jones stops him in this battle.
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