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UFC 235: Breaking down Jon Jones’ dominant decision win

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight elites Jon Jones and Anthony Smith squared off last night (March 2, 2019) at UFC 235 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For the first time in years, Jones has been able to fight twice in a short period without being interrupted by a suspension of some kind. After recapturing his belt near the end of 2018, Jones wanted the first contender available, resulting in this showdown with a new contender. Speaking of, Anthony Smith has done great work in the previous 12 months to get himself to this point. A trio of victories — all via stoppage — in his new weight class of 205 lbs shot “Lionheart” into the top five, where his recent success and lack of previous fights with Jones made him a clear choice for the title shot.

Once more, Jones won easily (watch it).

Smith opened up calm, landing some hard low kicks while Jones established his range. Not long after, Jones began getting offensive, landing a pair of hard spin kicks and some other snapping kicks. Smith didn’t back off though, landing a partial high kick and defending follow up takedown. Jones landed a couple knees before Smith broke away, but the two returned to trading kicks reasonably soon after.

All in all, it was a rather close round, but Jones landed the most significant strikes of the round.

Early in the second round, Smith landed a nice right hand, prompting Jones to slam his heel into Smith’s jaw. Slightly wobbled, Smith backed off, allowing Jones to follow up with more hard kicks and a spinning elbow. Nevertheless, Smith was able to stall out his foe in the clinch and recover.

Back in the center, Smith began to target the body more often with his hands, but Jones’ left kicks were landing with worrying consistency. Similarly, the low kicks were adding up for “Bones.” As Jones continued to land more often, Smith began forcing the issue less.

The damage was clearly adding up.

Jones came out in the third round looking to wrestle a bit. Smith did an admirable job of defending, but Jones was unbothered, as he simply held onto the clinch and punished hie foe with knees instead. Eventually, Jones was able to successfully level change into a deep double leg, planting Smith on the mat with authority. Jones didn’t do much with his top position, as Smith was content to hold two-hands-on-one and stall until the end of the round.

Heading into the championship rounds, Smith was way down on the scorecards and damage total.

A big spin kick to the belly hurt Smith, opening him up for a flurry of elbows from “Bones.” Seconds later, Jones landed a pretty effortless foot sweep, as Smith was looking rather hapless under his foe’s barrage. Smith was completely in survival mode, not even attempting offense while Jones picked his shots and further broke “Lionheart” down. After minutes of abuse, Jones was able to secure something of a gift wrap position allowing him to land even more clean punches to the jawline.

Right near the end of the round, Smith absorbed an illegal knee while his hand was on the mat, resulting in Jones losing two points.

After spending the fourth round almost completely docile, Smith opened the fifth firing punches. It didn’t last too long though — Smith was too fatigued, his body too broken. When Jones jammed him into the fence, Smith did little to escape, eating small shots for the rest of the round.

This was sort of an odd performance from Jon Jones. There were a number of opportunities where he hurt Smith and could’ve pursued the finish, but he instead hung back. Later in the fight, Smith was no longer actively trying to win the title. Still, Jones did not really up the aggression or pursue the finish heavily. Jones made Smith’s life miserable and did damage the entire time. He completely dominated his opponent. Yet Jones is so great it seems like he easily could have done more.

Technically, it was all classic Jones. His ability to hide his kicks and measure distance remains unmatched. Jones was troubled or confused at any point and always had an answer to Smith’s attempts at offense.

There’s little to talk about for Smith. Early on, he was somewhat competitive, but Jones broke his body to pieces and left him with little athletic movement left in his body. After about the second round, Smith was not able to effectively throw anything powerful. The fight lasted 25 minutes, but Smith was done much earlier.

Last night, Jon Jones smashed his opponent for five rounds. Who will “Bones” face next?

For complete UFC 235: “Jones vs. Smith” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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