The UFC has reserved argubaly the very best fighter in the world to get a quick-turnaround bout, and I will offer 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 at 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 wants to get his license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which should occur later this month later he’s got 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 alongside ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reporting which Kamaru Usman is set to fight UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at 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 ideas on that bout are that Woodley deserves to be favored based on the fact he’s the defending champion, but that I provide Usman a great chance to win the title.
As far as Jones vs. Smith goes, it is clearly the ideal fight to book and it is good news the UFC is creating this fight rather than Jones contrary to Corey Anderson, that would not have been a competitive struggle. At least Smith has the finishing capability to make matters interesting, though Jones will still enter this fight as a massive betting favorite due to his unbelievable album and 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 twice, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio”Shogun” Rua, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. By all accounts, he’s one of the best resumes we have ever seen in the game and he’s appeared pretty much unstoppable in his MMA career save to get a very controversial DQ defeat to Matt Hamill nearly 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 document as a middleweight through two different stints at 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 at his very last conclusion Volkan Oezdemir all by finish, making a title shot because of his unbelievable run at 205lbs.
As good as Smith has appeared at light heavyweight, it is still not possible to favor him to conquer Jones, that has shown hardly any flaws in his game since making his UFC debut over a decade ago. I’d search for Jones to be around a -500 favorite for this battle, and contemplating Smith has been completed 14 days in his career there is a fantastic chance Jones stops him in this fight.
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