It feels like it has been far too long since we’ve written about a major Mixed Martial Arts show that captures the imagination. However, that’s exactly what we have in store here. Lovers of the fight game look forward to the latest offering from the Ultimate Fighting Championship series. Here are our top Jon Jones v Anthony Smith Betting Tips.
UFC 235 takes place on Saturday 2 March at the sport’s home, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. UK fans can follow all the action live on BT Sport from around midnight. We’ll have to stay up to around 5am GMT for the main event; however, it promises to be well worth the wait as two of the sport’s most exciting fighters go toe-to-toe in the light heavyweight division.
Jon Jones and Anthony Smith battle it out for the championship and that will have those in attendance settled into their seats well before the start. Meanwhile, fans back home prepare for a ‘blink and you’ll miss it war’.
The main event is supported by a star-studded bill with the line-up including Tyron Woodley v Kamaru Usman at welterweight; Robbie Lawler v Ben Askren at welterweight; Tecia Torres v Weili Zhang in the women’s strawweight division and Cody Garbrandt v Pedro Munhoz at bantamweight.
The majority of those fights enjoy the live BT Sport coverage, giving casual followers an insight into the gladiators pushing themselves towards a place at the top of the bill. Those tuning in to the Preliminary Card will get an update on the likes of Jeremy Stephens, Misha Cirkunov, Cody Stamann and Diego Sanchez.
Hours of entertainment there and bookmakers offer attractive betting odds and markets on the evening’s top bouts. These allow punters to bet on the winners – a sure-fire way to add a bit more spice to the occasion. Staying awake will be a lot easier if you’re counting the profits of a nice priced accumulator.
Hot Run of Form
Two-time champion Jon Jones puts his UFC light heavyweight championship belt on the line against the challenge of Anthony Smith; this is a bout fans have been asking for. The current ruler arrives from his Albuquerque, New Mexico base with a professional MMA record reading 23 wins from 25 starts. 10 of those victories have come by knockout with another six by submission and seven on the scorecards. This proves he’s a genuine all-rounder who carries concussive power when on his feet. He is more than talented enough in his ground game to impress the scoring judges.
With a fighting style that relies heavily on his background in Wrestling, Gaidojutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, that comes as little surprise; the champion will arrive at the venue for fight night on a hot streak of form. 31-year-old New Yorker Jones has won 14 of his last 15 bouts, with the spare a no-contest vs Daniel Cormier on UFC 214 in the summer of 2017.
The original result showed a convincing knockout win for Jones with the UFC title on the line. He was also awarded performance of the night as pundits raved about the display of attack. However, the decision was instantly overturned when the victor tested positive for the banned substance turinabol. Not only was he stripped of the win, but Bones also had his prized possession, the championship belt, taken from him. This left the fighter disgraced.
Bones Bounces Back
Jon Jones bounced back with a stunning TKO win over Alexander Gustafsson with a heavy-handed attack. This was enough to see him regain the belt he believed was rightfully his, picking up the vacant version of the title. Many critics believe Jones, having wronged the sport, didn’t deserve to walk back into a title shot. However, he proved beyond doubt he belongs at the head of the division.
Bookies certainly appreciate that and have a successful defence priced as the red-hot favourite with no more than 1/8 available at BetFred on another Jones victory. At first glance that’s very tight indeed; however, it makes sense and rates much better than the 1/12 you’ll get with most other firms.
That quote will force backers into the method of victory market where there’s more to be had. Taking the no contest out of the frame, Jones won by KO/TKO last time out but the feeling he had a point to prove sparked a determined performance in the champion. It’s worth knowing four of his last five positives have come by decision and another points win is our pick at a cracking 15/2 with Ladbrokes. That’s bigger than it should be. A second KO on the bounce is 4/5 favourite with the same firm, the submission result a 2/1 poke – top price with Ladbrokes.
Lionheart a Massive Underdog
Anthony Smith makes the trip from his Nebraska base as a massive underdog to win this fight and collect the championship belt. However, he’ll go with his team confident of upsetting the odds and turning the tables on his critics. The fight game is littered with shock results; however, this one does look to be a big ask, given the champion’s form and the fact he’s looking to make amends for previous mistakes.
Smith has won 31 of his 44 starts to date, taking 17 by knockout, 11 by submission and only two on the scorecards. That card tells us how he’ll set-up in this challenge’ He’ll look to go on the attack early, knowing his best chance at victory lies in testing his opponent’s chin with big shots. A dangerous tactic, but one that’ll make this fight all the more exciting.
Smith’s overall record may be a patchy one, but he has earned his shot at the big time. The experience that comes from an MMA fighting career stretching back to 2008 can’t be easily ignored. He also arrives in fine form, having won each of his last three bouts, claiming two by knockout with the spare a submission victory. He made his light heavyweight debut with KO win over Rashad Evans in the first round and has built on that since.
Smith Must Rely on Power
That debut win in the division was followed by another first-round KO, beating Mauricio Rua next time out on UFC Fight Night Hamburg in June of last year. An elbow and punch laden attack did the business, enough to earn him a performance of the night award on a strong card in Germany. Smith was last seen beating Volkan Oezdemir when topping the bill on UFC Fight Night Moncton, grabbing another performance of the night prize again.
Despite that eye-catching form, backers of the challenger will be delighted to get their hands on a stunning 6/1 with Ladbrokes on victory for Anthony Smith. That will prove just too big for some to ignore. We do expect bits and pieces of attention for that price, especially amongst those playing for small stakes. A fighter of Smith’s talent can never be truly written off in this sport.
There’s more than enough of a price there to cover the risk taken. However, if you’re after bigger you’ll find it in the method of victory market. Anthony for another KO/TKO result is 11/1, best price at Unibet, while the submission is an 18/1 play with the same firm. The decision has been scored out, traders confident enough to go with a bulky 20/1. Our pick may be less of a price, but we’re happy with Jon Jones to win on points at 15/2.