The UFC has booked argubaly the very best fighter in the world to get a quick-turnaround bout, and I will give my thoughts on this 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 in 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 affirming the news with them. The holdup now is that Jones still needs to get his permit from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should happen later this month after 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 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 that bout would be that Woodley deserves to become favored based on the fact he is the defending champion, but that I give Usman a fantastic shot to win the title.
As far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it’s obviously the right fight to book and it is good news the UFC is creating this battle instead of Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, that would not have been a competitive fight. At least Smith gets the finishing capability to make things interesting, though Jones will presumably still enter this fight as a massive betting favorite as a result of his unbelievable album and how good he looked in his return bout against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, which he won through third-round KO.
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) has an unbelievable 17-1, 1 NC album from the Octagon that includes win over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson double, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all reports, he’s among the greatest resumes we’ve ever seen in the sport and he has appeared pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save for a very 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 through two different stints in the UFC, Smith has exploded into stardom as a light heavyweight since moving up a weight class in the center of 2018. He’s defeated Shogun, Evans and in his very last finish Volkan Oezdemir all by end, earning a title shot for his unbelievable run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has looked at light hearted, it is still impossible to prefer him to beat Jones, that 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 fight, and considering Smith has been finished 14 times in his profession there’s a good opportunity Jones stops him in this fight.
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