UFC 235 tips: Best bets for Jones v Smith
Jack Green gives his UFC betting tips for the light-heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas, plus three other bouts from the main card.
JON JONES v ANTHONY SMITH
Saturday night’s main event should be yet another relatively straightforward win for light-heavyweight champion Jones.
The 31-year-old’s only defeat in 25 fights to date remains a DQ for illegal elbows against Matt Hammill, and he looked fantastic on his return from suspension against Alexander Gustafsson in December, stopping the rangy Swede in the second round.
With that win, Jones saw off the only opponent who had previously given him any trouble and it’s hard to see him struggling at all against Smith.
The 30-year-old is a dangerous striker who pushes forward and throws big shots, but Jones is a master of taking opponents out of their rhythm and Smith just doesn’t have the experience in big fights to work out the champion’s style.
Jones will pick the challenger apart and secure the stoppage, possibly as early as the second round.
Jones to win in Round 2
TYRON WOODLEY v KAMARU USMAN
In a meeting of two of the UFC’s best wrestlers, this welterweight title bout will likely come down to the champion’s takedown defence.
Usman has earned this title shot with a 13-fight winning streak that has mainly consisted of him dragging opponents to the mat and pinning them there, but, in Woodley, he now faces arguably the hardest man in the UFC to take down.
Demian Maia tried desperately to get into a grappling match with the champion but couldn’t land the takedown and limped to a decision defeat.
Usman’s a much better wrestler than Maia, but his striking is not good enough to match up with Woodley’s and he could be similarly frustrated if he fails to secure an early takedown.
Usman fought Maia last May and, while he won comfortably, he was hit a few times by a fighter whose striking is even worse than his own, so it’s likely he’ll be caught by at least of one of Woodley’s huge right hands.
T-Wood should freeze his opponent in the early rounds – just as he did to Maia, Stephen Thompson and Darren Till – and eventually secure the stoppage.
Woodley to win by KO/TKO
BEN ASKREN v ROBBIE LAWLER
Askren finally makes his UFC debut on Saturday night after years of sniping at the company from afar, and he faces a stiff test in Lawler.
The former welterweight champion has lost two of his last three fights, but is still one of the more dangerous strikers in the division and holds a clear advantage over Askren on the feet.
Askren’s strength is his phenomenal wrestling, though, and no one has been able to avoid his takedowns yet.
The 34-year-old pulls his opponents to the mat and holds them there, and he should be able to do just that to Lawler, whose takedown defence has never been particularly good.
Expect the former Bellator and ONE champion to grind his way through the three rounds and potentially set up a shot at the title.
Askren to win by decision
CODY GARBRANDT v PEDRO MUNHOZ
Garbrandt should make a winning return to the Octagon following back-to-back knockout defeats in title fights against TJ Dillashaw.
The former champion seemed unstoppable before those two meetings with his ex-teammate, having won all of his previous 11 fights, nine by knockout.
In Munhoz, he faces a solid all-round fighter who is yet to be knocked out, but does leave openings due to his high-pressure style.
It’s fair to expect Garbrandt to fight more conservatively after being stopped twice in a row, and he should manage to find a gap and land a big shot to end the fight.
Garbrandt to win by KO/TKO
*Odds subject to change.
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