UFC 235: Preview and Predictions

UFC 235

Jones carries too much baggage to be labeled a saviour, and the UFC is probably going to be cautious with making him the face of the company, even for a short period.

Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Anthony Smith at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, overcoming a two-point deduction for an illegal knee to Smith's head in the fourth round.

A championship bout with a title on the line, welterweight Tyron Woodley faces off against the "Nigerian Nightmare", Kamaru Usman.

Considering he can retain his light heavyweight championship against Anthony Smith on Saturday night, the challenges in the division seem to be thin with some big potential match-ups available in a division now ruled by his arch nemesis, Daniel Cormier. The champion has had a bumpy road to regaining his title after being stripped in 2017 for PED usage.

Usman, 31, extended his winning streak to 14 and maintain his unbeaten record in the UFC. With only one loss, and that being a disqualification, Jones is one of the greatest fighters the octagon has ever seen. After a Fight of the Night against Thiago Santos at middleweight, Smith moved up to light heavyweight. I'm the people's champ, I'm America's champ. However, crazier things have happened in this sport. Woodley spent most of the night locked against the cage with Usman all over him.

While this is certainly a fight that could go either way, Woodley (-175) has been made a slight favorite over Usman (+145), with Woodley's ability to go on the offensive as a striker when he needs to likely giving him the advantage. "And I know everyone always has a chance", he said. Usman will be the first challenger to pose a threat in all aspects of mixed martial arts, just like Woodley. Woodley is every bit the wrestler Usman is (both enjoyed successful collegiate careers), and his fast-twitch counterstriking is so risky, opponents have to respect it. "Why are we not fighting for it (the title) man?" The victor of this matchup will be whoever can execute their game plan the fastest.

Ben Askren produced a thrilling come-from-behind victory on his UFC debut against former UFC champion Robbie Lawler.

The fight was one-sided from the start, with many viewers slamming it as "boring" for the uneven match-up. If Woodley maintains his belt, the circumstances will be interesting.

-295: Ben Askren moneyline to beat Robbie Lawler. This truly is a great fight at the 170-pound division. Finally, 16-1 featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov looks to continue his streak of dominance as he meets the always unsafe Jeremy Stephens. ESPN (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT) are scheduled to share coverage of the eight-fight undercard, highlighted by a high-stakes featherweight showdown between Jeremy Stephens and Zabit Magomedsharipov.

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