Jon Jones will make the first defense of his most recent run atop the UFC light-heavyweight division as he takes on Anthony Smith in the UFC 235 main-event.
If you haven’t already seen it, check out our prediction for the night’s co-main event contest between Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman here.
Smith has been pointed to by many as the biggest underdog in a UFC title-fight we’ve seen in quite some time now – something that is a testament to both the talent of the man he is set to compete against and the fact that many have written his skillset off completely in comparison.
Let’s be clear here. If your gut is telling you Anthony Smith is about to shock the world, fair enough. This is MMA and crazy sh*t happens all of the time.
If, however, you can point to any strength in the game of Lionheart or a flaw in the game of Jones that you’re seeing as an avenue for him to pull off the win, you’re clearly seeing something that every one else is missing.
There is no reason to believe that Smith can win this fight based on what we know.
The stats are skewed so heavily in Jon’s favour no matter where the fight goes.
Takedown accuracy/defense, strikes landed/absorbed, submission average, experience at this level.
No matter how you look at this matchup, Jon Jones should be the huge favourite.
And yet, Anthony Smith has been able to capture the public’s imagination in a way that has given this fight a special buzz.
Jones has, of course, has given his detractors their fair share of fuel after an incredibly rocky few years but it does seem as though he is ready to re-establish himself with a greater level of consistency from here on out.
So how does this fight play out?
Again, nothing is certain in mixed martial arts. Smith could well go out there and land hard and clean on Jon’s chin but as I said before, there is nothing in his resumé that should lead you to believe that it’s a genuine possibility.
Jones will likely have his way with Lionheart in one of the most dominant performances of his career.
Like any fight, there is always room there to be left in complete shock but 999 times out of 1000, Jon should be in complete control here.
That one in the thousand shot is all Smith needs to become a legend but I just do not see anything less than an absolute clinic here.
Prediction: Jon Jones via first-round submission.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena