Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith
|Date & Time||Saturday March 2, 2019, 11:45 PM (EST)|
The Line: Jones -855 / Smith +645 -- Over/Under:
Jon Jones and Anthony Smith fight Saturday in UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena.
Jon Jones enters this fight with a 23-1 record and has won 43 percent of his fights by knockout. Jones has won his last 16 fights and is coming off a December win over Alexander Gustafsson. Jones is averaging 4.43 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 56 percent. Jones is averaging 2.09 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. Jones seems to finally be getting some consistency under his belt in terms of a schedule, as we’ve been lucky to see him once a year due to personal issues. Jones is coming off a third round knockout, a fight he dominated from start to finish, landing 126 strikes and producing two takedowns while taking just 48 strikes from his opponent. Jones is often considered the best fighter in MMA history, as he does everything at a high level. Jones has the unreal size at 6’4” with an 84.5 inch reach, his athleticism is off the charts, he has legit power in his strikes and his wrestling is high quality as well. Jones defends takedowns as well as anybody in the sport, can takedown his opponent whenever he pleases and takes advantage of any mistake his opponent makes. There’s simply no concrete weakness in Jones’ game, and it’s the reason he can miss a year or more out of the octagon and beat somebody like Daniel Cormier without much of an issue. This will be Jones’ seventh career fight in Las Vegas.
Anthony Smith enters this fight with a 31-13 record and has won 55 percent of his fights by knockout. Smith has won 10 of his last 12 fights and is coming off an October win over Volkan Oezdemir. Smith is averaging 3.67 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 49 percent. Smith is averaging 0.67 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 29 percent. Smith has earned performance of the night in back-to-back fights and has finished each of his last six victories. Smith is coming off a third round submission in which he ate 206 strikes, but he simply wouldn’t give in and closed the deal just before the bell. Smith has shown he has enough ground game to survive on the canvas, but he’s most effective standing up where he puts together good combinations and uses his knees and legs extremely well. Smith is a brawler at heart and can be unpredictable with his strikes, particularly with his legs, as he mixes in everything and is quite creative. Win or lose, Smith is going to go out aggressive and get his shots in. This will be Smith’s fifth career fight in Las Vegas.
These odds aren’t giving Smith enough credit, as the guy is a quality fighter who won’t back down and can land some shots. In a stand up fight, Smith has a punchers chance due to solid technique and ability to mix in his leg kicks. The problem is Bones is the best to ever step into the octagon and takes advantage of his opponents weaknesses. Smith not only has shown a questionable chin and has been knocked out eight times in his career, but he’s way too wild and carless to be fighting somebody with the IQ of Jones. While Smith has nothing to lose taking this fight, he can’t do these unpredictable kicks or flying knees against Jones and expect a positive result. Smith is also a little slow with his standup striking, giving the already bigger and longer Jones an advantage there as well.
I’ve never picked against Jones, and I’m certainly not doing it here, even if Smith is better than these odds indicate. I’ll take Jones in a finish, as we’ll certainly get better odds on that than simply picking him to win the fight. (Those odds will be released later.)