That MMA Show

UFC 235: Jones vs. Smith

Composed by: Alex “AFM” Minor

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On Saturday, 3/2/19, the UFC showcased a tremendous card at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. At the top of the card were several highly competitive/anticipated matchups, including two championship bouts. At the very top of the card, recently re-crowned light heavy weight champ, Jon Jones, was set to take on the surging, 205-pound newcomer, Anthony Smith. Considering Jon Jones’ level of greatness in comparison with Smith’s level of success, many considered this bout to be nothing more than a wash that would serve to keep Jon Jones active while waiting for more high level opponents. On the other hand, Smith was coming in undefeated as a light heavyweight, with three straight victories over top fighters; all by way of stoppage. Nevertheless, the betting odds were tilted heavily in favor of the champion, manifesting in a fashion reminiscent of the story of David and Goliath.

When this battle of biblical proportions finally ensued, Smith came out busy, pawing to find distance and landing several quick, low kicks. Jones came out slow, mainly reading Smith for the first half of the round, but eventually opened up with several oblique kicks to the knee and spinning-side-kicks to the body. In the second round, Jones began to overwhelm Smith, putting him on the back foot with several left hands to start, then got right back to hyper-extending the knees with oblique kicks, and slicing leg kicks. In the third round, Jones continued to dominate, landing several big right crosses and a front kick to force Smith to the fence. Toward the end of the round, Jones Slammed Smith to the canvas with a big take down.

In the fourth, Jones forced Smith against the cage once again, where he unloaded a head kick, powerful spinning kicks to the body, staggering elbows, and body hooks before securing another take down. Jones continued to beat Smith up from top position. Toward the end of the fourth round, Jones got two points taken due to an illegal knee he landed on Smith while he was downed. In the final round, Jones opened up with several jab-right uppercut combinations to push Smith right back to the fence. There, Jones grinded Smith into the cage, landed shoulder strikes to the chin, and punches to the thighs. In the final seconds of the fight, Jones broke from the clinch and landed a big flying knee right before the buzzer.

When everything was said and done, it was obvious that Jones had achieved a dominant victory, retaining his championship status and gaining a new-age, shiny, belt by unanimous decision.

In the co-main event of the night, there was another huge championship bout between reigning Welterweight king, Tyron Woodley, and dominant top contender, Kamaru Usman. Coming into this bout, Kamaru Usman was seen as a younger, less experienced version of Woodley due to his strong wrestling credentials, incredible strength, and growing striking repertoire. Considering Woodley’s record-setting takedown defense, wealth of experience, and freakish power, he was considered to be the favorite in this clash of “Old School” and “New School”. Nevertheless, the “Nigerian Nightmare” had not been denied once in his dominant, UFC career. With that being said, the bout was certain to be much more interesting than it seemed on paper.

When the fight commenced between the “Chosen One” and the “Nigerian Nightmare”, the results were baffling to say the least. In the first round, Woodley came out circling the fence and throwing hooks off the back-foot, whilst Usman stalked the champion down, eventually snatching a deep single. Surprisingly, Woodley fell into a loose, guillotine hold. Usman began battering the body with digging punches & elbows from top. Woodely managed to regain his feet, but Usman stayed on him, continuing to grind Woodley into the fence and dig into the body (with hooks) and the legs (with knees). Usman landed a jab-straigh-hook combination on the break before the bell.

In the second round, Usman wasted no time pushing Woodley to the fence with straight punches; where he continued to pepper the body with hooks and stomp the feet. Usman then broke the clinch momentarily to land a big elbow, a hard straight, and shoot right back in for a huge take down. Usman immediately established the full mount position, and began punishing the head and body with tight hooks. Woodley generated virtually zero offense the entire round as he endured the punishment.

In round three, Woodley started out circling quickly and throwing hard, straight punches. Usman eventually closed the distance and went right back to work, pushing Woodley against the fence, ripping the body with hooks, kneeing the thighs & midsection, and landing shoulder strikes to the chin. Usman broke the clinch several times, landing staggering punches and elbows before locking up the clinch once more to punish the body.

In the fourth, Usman punched his way into range, and immediately got a take down to grind Woodley between the fence and the canvas. From here, Usman continued to rip the body and shoulder the chin from the body lock. About three minutes into the round, referee Marc Goddard stood the fighters up. Usman immediately jabbed into range once more to secure the Thai Plum. Woodley countered with a flurry of uppercuts whilst Usman continued to dig in his abdomen with brutal knee strikes. Usman landed an elbow on the break and continued to open up a long, devastating combination of brutal hooks and uppercuts to the jaw of the champion. Usman finished the round smothering the wobbled champion against the fence.

In the fifth, Usman jabbed in and shot for the legs. Woodley grabbed a guillotine grip once more from standing. Usman simply kneed the legs and stomped the feet before slamming the champion to the mat once more. Woodley controlled the entire round, landing big punches and knees from top position until the bell sounded.

Upon the official decision reading, it was made clear that Usman had captured the title in dominant fashion, via unanimous decision. Shortly thereafter, Usman was crowned the 12th UFC welterweight champion of the world, and the first UFC champion hailing from the continent of Africa. Usman broke several other records as well, including the most body strikes in a title fight (196), the biggest strike differential in a title fight (276), and second most strikes landed in a UFC fight period (336). A truly awe-inspiring performance from the “Nigerian Nightmare” with an argument for the greatest championship performance of all time.

Considering Usman’s level of dominance, it is now up to the UFC to decide whether Woodley’s resume will earn him an immediate rematch or if the next shot will go to the brash, #1 contender, Colby Covington. According to Usman’s and Covington’s recent interviews, it seems as though their fight will be next. Especially after two near-scuffles between the fighters after UFC235.

In another highly anticipated fight of the night, former One Championship & Bellator Welterweight champion, Ben Askren, made good on his debut against the fearsome, former UFC champion, Robbie Lawler. Nevertheless, Askren’s win was not secured without considerable adversity.

Ben Askren came out the gate, immediately shooting for the takedown. Lawler managed to stuff the attempt but Askren began to transition to Lawler’s back. Lawler countered Askren’s advance by lifting Askren and slamming him on his head with a devastating fireman’s carry throw. Upon their landing, Lawler continued to smash Askren’s face with bombs, bringing him to the brink of unconsciousness. Despite Robbie’s ferocity, Askren managed to regain his wits, sink an under-hook, and stand back up. Askren went right back to pushing for the take down, but Robbie managed to back him off momentarily with a big knee to the body and a hard hook to the dome. Askren managed to push Lawler to the fence once more and secure a take down after eating several knees to the body. Shortly thereafter, Askren transitioned to Robbie’s back, and into a bull dog choke. Lawler dropped his defending hand, and Herb Dean called the fight shortly after checking for consciousness. However, as soon as Askren loosened the choke, Lawler immediately shot up and began protesting the stoppage.

Considering the immediate recovery from Lawler and a post-fight video illuminating an erect thumb during the choke, the result of this bout has become quite controversial. Even UFC President, Dana White, has expressed his opinion that the result was an early stoppage. Considering this controversy, many amongst the UFC masses have expressed interest in a rematch. However, Askren has since defended the legitmacy of his victory and his unwillingness to rematch the “Ruthless” one. Askren went on to reveal his plans to attend UFC Fight Night 147 in London to challenge the winner of Darren Till vs. Jorge Masvidal. Askren has also since called out newly minted champion, Kamaru Usman, in the wake of his victorious performance over Askren’s teammate, Tyron Woodley. Only time will tell what the “MMA Gods” have in store for the drama-filled 170-pound division.

Official Results

  • Jon Jones def. Anthony Smith via DEC 5:00 into rd. 5
  • Kamaru Usman def. Tyron Woodley via DEC 5:00 into rd. 5
  • Ben Askren def. Robbie Lawler via SUB (Bulldog Choke) 3:20 into rd. 1
  • Weili Zhang def. Tecia Torres via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Pedro Munhoz def. Cody Garbrandt via KO/TKO (right hook/hammer fists) 4:52 into rd. 1
  • Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Jeremy Stephens via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Johnny Walker def. Misha Cirkunov via KO/TKO (Flying knee) 0:36 into rd. 1
  • Cody Stamann def. Alejandro Perez via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Diego Sanchez def. Mickey Gall via KO/TKO (Ground & pound) 4:13 into rd. 2
  • Edmen Shahbazyan def. Charles Byrd via KO/TKO (Elbows/ground & pound) 0:38 into rd. 1
  • Macy Chiasson def. Gina Mazany via KO/TKO (Punches) 1:49 into rd. 1
  • Hannah Cifers def. Polyana Viana via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3

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