Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY. Pictured: Jon Jones
UFC 235 betting odds: Jon ‘Bones’ Jones vs. Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith
- Jon Jones -900
- Anthony Smith +550
- Time: Approx. 11:30 p.m. ET
- Channel: Pay-per-view
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The UFC will travel to the fight capital of the world this weekend for what has the early makings of the best card of the year. All the action will take place from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
Undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion and the potential pound-for-pound best fighter in the world Jon Jones will enter the octagon Saturday night less than three months after he defeated Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232.
Meanwhile, challenger Anthony Smith has finished three consecutive fights since moving up from 185 pounds back in June of 2018.
Surprise: the sport’s potential GOAT boasts massive physical, striking and takedown advantages over the challenger.
We’re going to break down this fight a bit different than usual due to the astronomical odds. Jones’ overwhelming technical and physical advantages make this matchup about as big of a mismatch as you could possibly imagine.
Of course, nothing is guaranteed in a fist fight. Perhaps Smith’s aggressive nature will enable him to catch JBJ off guard and pull off one of the greatest upsets in UFC history.
Smith has a chance of winning because technically every competitor has a “chance” of winning a one-on-one fight. Formulating an actual path to success against the sport’s potential GOAT is where things get tricky, as nobody actually knows how to defeat Jones because it’s never happened before.
Predicting JBJ to win this fight isn’t a difficult task, but figuring out how Jones might win this fight is where we have the chance to make some money. Let’s break down Jones’ chances of defeating Smith by decision as well as by TKO/KO or submission.
Jones by Decision (+650)
A quick look at JBJ’s history inside the octagon reveals that he’s been just as likely to finish opponents with strikes as he is to win by decision.
- Jones has fought 19 times inside the Octagon.
- 7 (37%) of those fights were finished by TKO or KO (including Jones’ “loss” against Matt Hamill and no contest in his rematch against Daniel Cormier).
- 5 (26%) of those fights were finished by way of submission.
- 7 (37%) of those fights reached the judge’s scorecards and ended in a decision.
Still, Jones has looked like a different beast during his last two title fights, finishing both Daniel Cormier and Gustafsson by strikes in round three. JBJ wasn’t able to finish either opponent when they originally fought back in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
The problem with picking Bones to win by decision is that win-or-lose, Smith has made a habit of not letting his fights reach the judge’s scorecards. Overall, only two of Smith’s 10 fights (20%) in the UFC have been decided by decision, while his remaining eight fights resulted in six victories and two defeats before the final bell.
Nobody has ever questioned Smith’s toughness, and neither competitor has made a habit of gassing out during their respective fighting careers. Still, we’ve never seen Anthony Smith go a full five rounds; JBJ hasn’t done so since April of 2016.
I’ll pass on Jones by decision, as I believe the matchup’s largest advantage in the champion’s favor will result in this fight ending in less than 25 minutes.