LAS VEGAS — If there’s such a factor as an informal UFC title protection, Jon Jones’ victory over Anthony Smith was it.
Jones (24-1, 1 NC) defended his gentle heavyweight title in a tepid, five-round combat Saturday, outpointing Smith (31-14) on all three judges’ scorecards 48-44. The 205-pound title combat headlined UFC 235 at T-Cellular Enviornment.
The one purpose it wasn’t an entire 50-44 shutout for Jones was resulting from an unlawful knee within the fourth spherical. Referee Herb Dean docked Jones two factors for the knee, which Jones landed to the aspect of Smith’s head whereas he was thought-about a downed opponent.
Kamaru Usman claimed the UFC welterweight title with a dominant displaying towards three-time defending champion Tyron Woodley in Saturday’s co-feature. He is set to combat Colby Covington subsequent.
Earlier than UFC 235’s principal occasion between Jon Jones and Anthony Smith, a number of undercard fights have main implications. This is the way it all goes down.
The 31-year-old Jones cruised to the lopsided resolution somewhat effortlessly. On the similar time, he by no means appeared near ending Smith, and there have been instances when it appeared Smith was content material to outlive somewhat than take dangers in the hunt for an upset.
Jones outstruck Smith 238-45, together with 125-36 in vital strikes.
“This MMA factor is admittedly arduous,” Jones mentioned. “Some days you may look wonderful. Some days at work, you will not carry out to the extent you maintain your self to.
“With that being mentioned, hats off to Anthony Smith. His status is thought to be so sturdy, and now I do know why his identify is ‘Lionheart.’ I’ve by no means had somebody discuss to me whereas I am hitting them. This man is so sturdy. He is just like the terminator.”
Jon Jones mentioned he was praying he would not lose resulting from an unlawful knee and has all of the respect for Anthony Smith after he stayed within the combat.
For Jones, the unlawful knee might have been much more expensive than two meaningless factors. Had Smith been dominated unfit to proceed and the knee characterised as intentional, Jones might need suffered a loss through disqualification. The one lack of Jones’ profession, to Matt Hamill in 2009, was resulting from an unlawful strike.
Smith, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, and fights out of Denver, managed to get better and proceed with the combat. He later mentioned he wouldn’t have needed to win the title through disqualification.
“I need to win [the title],” Smith mentioned. “I do not need to steal it.”
Though it wasn’t his most memorable efficiency, Jones, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, totally outclassed Smith in each space. Jones landed a number of spinning again kicks early on and lower Smith with elbows within the fourth spherical.
Jones, who has mentioned he needs to combat 4 instances in 2019, didn’t point out a possible subsequent opponent. He has recorded 9 whole title defenses in his profession, though that is his first since reclaiming the belt in December.