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27 Feb 2019 by Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith at UFC 235

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AT A GLANCE

When is UFC 235? Sunday 3rd March, 2019 – 03:00 (UK)

Where is UFC 235? T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada

What channel is UFC 235 on? BT Sport 2

Where can I stream UFC 235? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT website

Are tickets still available for UFC 235? http://uk.ufc.com/event-ticket-info?utm_source=ufc&utm_medium=tab&utm_campaign=tickets

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

Jon Jones is back in action after seeing off Alexander Gustafsson in his comeback fight. The new light heavyweight champ is keen to make up for lost time and get some fights under his belt, with the new contender Anthony Smith rising to the challenge.

Smith has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in the last couple years to earn a title shot. In truth, the division has become hollow compared to what it used to be but Smith’s performances have been exceptional.

After stringing three knockouts together, he met fellow slugger Thiago Santos in a violent battle but was on the wrong end of the killer blow, which lead to the decision of moving up to light heavyweight. Blazing a trail in the division, he kneed Rashad Evans into retirement, he battered Shogun Rua out of Germany and held his own against the big and dangerous Volkan Oezdemir, breaking him down and finishing the former title contender off with a submission.

As good as Smith has looked, Jones is simply on another level. Nobody has ever got the better of Jones in the cage and even after long lay-offs, he still came back to knock out Daniel Cormier and Gustafsson, who are two elite 205ers in their prime.

THE PREDICTION

Smith will be a massive underdog but that does not mean he hasn’t got a chance. Despite fighting most his career at middleweight, he has the power of a light heavyweight as well as the frame - standing at 6’4” - and as we have seen in the past, upsets are always lurking around the corner.

Remember the likes of Matt Serra against Georges St Pierre, Chris Weidman against Anderson Silva, TJ Dillashaw against Renan Barao etc – Jones has to be respectful of Smith and his endurance and heart will make him dangerous in every round.

This may be a closer contest than people predict but in this case the stats do not lie. Jones is a better striker; he is better technically from all ranges and his grappling is also a step above with sound wrestling and one of the most dangerous clinches in the game.

Despite their durability, this is unlikely to go to a decision. Smith needs to turn the fight into a brawl but Jones has the repertoire to punish Smith in all areas. Whether that is from a distance with oblique kicks and using his abnormally long reach or from short range with dirty boxing and elbows in the clinch.

Winner: Jones via KO/TKO

Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric

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