Jon Jones cruises to victory over Anthony Smith at UFC 235
UFC light-heavyweight world champion Jon 'Bones' Jones calmly brushed off the challenge of Anthony Smith to retain his world title in Las Vegas at UFC 235.
Jones looked the dominant athlete throughout the contest as he ran out a comfortable unanimous decision winner in the main event at the T-Mobile Arena.
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Jones started the fight in relaxed fashion and, relatively unpressured by a slow-starting Smith, eased into the contest and took control of the opening two rounds.
Spinning back kick lands early in round 1 by @JonnyBones#UFC235pic.twitter.com/8I3oH5JaoT— UFC (@ufc) March 3, 2019
Jones mixed up his strikes beautifully from range, with his lead left kick particularly successful as he scored with regularity to head and body.
Smith had promised to make Jones fight from the very first bell, but the onslaught never really materialized as Jones settled into a rhythm and took control of the fight.
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The only moment of concern for the defending champion came late in the fourth round, when he was adjudged to have landed an illegal knee on an apparently grounded Smith.
Jon Jones deducted 2 points for an illegal knee to the head of Smith. #ufc235#vegaspic.twitter.com/2ad1CQmHoV— Mick Akers (@mickakers) March 3, 2019
It saw referee Herb Dean hand Jones a two-point deduction, but that sanction had no effect on the final result, as Jones polled scores of 48-44 on all three scorecards to claim a landslide decision win.
Jones vs. Smith #UFC235 scorecard. Just posting here for posterity sake. pic.twitter.com/aa9MPuIFDB— Heidi Fang (@HeidiFang) March 3, 2019
"This MMA thing is really hard. Some days you’re gonna look amazing and some days at work you’re not going to perform at the level you hold yourself to," Jones admitted after the fight.
"With that being said, hats off to Anthony Smith. Now I see why they call him ‘Lionheart’. I have never had someone talk to me while I’m hitting them. This guy so durable, he's like The Terminator!"
The win extended Jones' undefeated streak in UFC world title fights to 13 in a row. And while many fans are hoping to see Jones move up to heavyweight to challenge for the title held by his old rival Daniel Cormier, Jones hinted that he may stick around at light-heavyweight, where fresh challenges await.
"Right now I'm going to enjoy this win, go back to the drawing board and figure out ways to get better," he told Joe Rogan after his victory.
#AndStill Dominant. @JonnyBones#UFC235pic.twitter.com/m4wUOLchcd— UFC (@ufc) March 3, 2019
"There's a lot of young talent in the UFC. So many guys coming up. so many guys that are looking unbelievable, and that's going to be a challenge in itself."
The co-main event saw a title change in the UFC welterweight division as defending world champion Tyron Woodley was comprehensively outpointed by Nigerian-born challenger Kamaru Usman, who claimed a landslide unanimous decision victory to become the first African-born world champion in UFC history.
Usman dominated from start to finish as he outwrestled an off-form Woodley throughout the five 5-minute rounds to earn scores of 50-44, 50-44, 50-45 and capture the UFC's 170lb title.
And after the bout 'The Nigerian Nightmare' said his ability to mix up his striking and wrestling skills meant he deservedly made it to the welterweight summit.
"I might not be the best striker in the world. And I might not be the best pure wrestler in the world. But when it comes to mixing this s**t up, I'm the best f***ing welterweight on the planet."