Thanks to three consecutive highlight-reel wins at Light Heavyweight, Anthony Smith — a Middleweight just 13 months ago — earned himself an opportunity to fight the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter ever, Jon Jones, in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 235, which took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Yes, Jones is lathered in controversy thanks to the “picograms” of turinabol “pulsing” through his bloodstream. That didn’t seem to bother “Lionheart” though, one of the biggest betting underdogs in a championship bout since Matt Serra shocked the world with his stoppage of Georges St-Pierre back in 2007. Indeed, Smith was focused on winning a world title this evening, not dirty pee-pee.
Unfortunately for Smith, he learned the painful lesson that all other Jones opponents before him had to learn firsthand: “Bones” is one very, very bad man. Indeed, Jones bashed and battered Smith for 25 straight minutes, grinding out a ho-hum unanimous decision win.
Jones came out looking to end the fight early — whiffing on a wild haymaker and then, moments later, landing a thudding spinning back kick to Smith’s gut. He landed the same hard shot seconds later. Smith responded with a head kick, which Jones caught and pushed “Lionheart” up against the fence. They eventually returned to the center of the cage, where Jones landed a solid sidekick to Smith’s midsection. It was a rather uneventful round, with both fighters feeling each other out; however, Jones certainly landed the more significant strikes.
Jones landed a hard front kick to Smith’s chin early in the second round, which made him wince in pain. He followed it up with a spinning elbow that connected flush, but Smith was able to get his bearings as the two locked up along the fence. Jones’ kicks really began to take their toll on Smith in round two, setting up a straight overhand left that bounced off his forehead. Jones seemed content to just back Smith into corners and assault him with an array of kicks, while “Lionheart” stood still and absorbed them.
The third round was much of the same — Smith offered up little offense, while Jones continued to tenderize his entire body. Jones began to open up in the fourth round, nailing him with a hard elbow. Smith eventually slumped to the canvas and Jones began to tee off. His nose exploded from all the shots — all he could do was cling to Jones’ wrist to try and prevent further abuse. Smith tried to get back to his feet, but Jones dragged him back down, delivering hard kneed to his sides and boxing his ears with repeated punches. Smith continued to try and play wrist control from a sitting position, but Jones continued to lay it on thick. Jones landed a illegal knee to a downed opponent while he was down, and as a result, he was deducted two points be referee Herb Dean after he called timeout and watched the replay.
Good on Smith for not taking the easy way out and pretending he was hurt — winning via disqualification after getting abused for four consecutive rounds is not honorable.
The points deduction seemingly lit a fire under Jones, who came out for the fifth and final round like he was shot out of a cannon. But, just like that, it became a hand-fighting match along the cage, which triggered boos from the restless crowd. And it stayed just like that until the fight came to a conclusion.
What an odd fight. Smith seemed overmatched from the jump, with Jones just toying with him, setting up an eventual finish. The only problem is it never came — it was a pretty boring fight. But, kudos to Smith for lasting 25 minutes in a cage with one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
For complete UFC 235: “Jones vs. Smith” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.