On the high of the UFC 235 card, there are a pair of title fights that includes a few of the most recognizable names within the sport. In the primary occasion, Jon Jones will defend the sunshine heavyweight title towards Anthony Smith. Within the co-main occasion, Tyron Woodley places the welterweight title on the road towards Kamaru Usman. All 4 fighters have distinctive talent units, which translate into some spectacular statistical accomplishments.
A number of stylistic divergences might be the figuring out think about every struggle on Saturday. We’ll break down every class to totally perceive the statistical variations most certainly to outline Saturday evening’s greatest fights.
UFC gentle heavyweight championship: Jon Jones (c) vs. Anthony Smith
For the primary time at UFC 235, Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley will each struggle on the identical evening for the UFC. Combating collectively is not something new for the pair who, extra a than a decade in the past, turned the Missouri wrestling program right into a powerhouse.
Jon Jones defends the UFC gentle heavyweight championship towards Anthony Smith Saturday at UFC 235. That is Smith’s journey, informed by the eyes of those that lived it with him.
UFC 235 takes place on Saturday in Las Vegas on pay-per-view, with prelims on ESPN. There are two title fights: Jon Jones defending at gentle heavyweight towards Anthony Smith and Tyron Woodley taking over welterweight challenger Kamaru Usman.
Merely talking, Jones is best at touchdown strikes and avoiding strikes from his opponents than Smith. By way of putting differential, which is critical strikes landed per minute minus vital strikes absorbed per minute, Jones has a plus-2.32. Alternatively, Smith absorbs greater than he lands on a per minute foundation, which leaves him with a adverse differential at minus-Zero.65.
By way of touchdown, Jones makes use of his attain very nicely to land from the surface. In contrast to most fighters, who focus nearly all of their assaults on the opponent’s head, Jones has a way more numerous putting strategy, touchdown 24 % of his vital strikes to the physique and 25 % to the legs. In his UFC profession, Jones has landed four.43 vital strikes per minute. Smith has managed to land three.49, which is barely under common for ranked gentle heavyweights (four.16).
Whereas Jones is a robust offensive fighter, his putting protection is what units him aside from the remainder of the division. He absorbs solely 2.11 vital strikes per minute and avoids 65 % of his opponents’ tried vital strikes. Each of these metrics are tops amongst ranked gentle heavyweights. Smith is far more hittable. He has absorbed four.14 vital strikes per minute, which is the second-worst fee among the many high 16 gentle heavyweights within the UFC.
In a pure putting contest, Jones has a determined benefit. To tug off an upset, Smith might want to discover a solution to make an influence when he does occur to land towards Jones.
The excellent news for Smith is he has been in a position to show above-average energy throughout his second stint within the UFC. In his mixed stats from his UFC and Strikeforce careers, Smith has scored Zero.72 knockdowns per 15 minutes of struggle time. Nevertheless, in his previous seven fights, he has dropped his opponents 5 instances. Throughout that stretch, his knockdown per 15 minute fee has been 1.29.
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This kind of ending energy is among the few statistical components that closely favor Smith over Jones. In contrast to the challenger, the champion isn’t famous for his energy putting capacity. Throughout his 19-fight UFC profession, he has scored solely 5 knockdowns, which equates to Zero.28 knockdowns per 15 minutes.
Smith has been in a position to make a distinction in his current fights along with his putting energy. Nevertheless, Jones has by no means been knocked down in UFC competitors, and he holds an extra stylistic edge that would assist him keep away from Smith’s energy.
Not solely does Jones excel at taking fights to the bottom, however he additionally does harm as soon as the struggle goes there. Throughout his UFC profession, he has landed 2.09 takedowns per 15 minutes, and he has scored not less than one takedown in 17 of his 19 fights. On high of that, 20 % of his landed vital strikes have come on the ground, and he has outlanded his opponents 232 to 6 by way of vital floor strikes.
Clearly, Smith wish to maintain this struggle standing. Nevertheless, he has not proven superior aptitude in that space. He has allowed 2.three takedowns per 15 minutes and stopped solely 47 % of the takedown makes an attempt towards him. As soon as on the bottom, Smith struggles to correctly defend himself. All informed, 33 % of the numerous strikes he has absorbed throughout his UFC/Strikeforce profession have come on the ground, and his opponents have outlanded him 144 to 26 in that place.
If Jones decides to make use of his wrestling to keep away from the knockout energy of Smith, he’ll doubtless achieve success. This technique is not going to solely neutralize Smith’s finest path to victory but additionally permit the champion to land at will with little danger of response from Smith.
The co-main occasion of UFC 235 may nicely come right down to how Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman fare within the clinch. AP Photograph/John Locher
UFC welterweight championship: Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman
Usman and Woodley each land about half of their vital strike makes an attempt. Usman lands 50 % of his makes an attempt, and Woodley lands 48 %. Nevertheless, Usman is a way more lively striker. In his UFC profession, he has tried 7.75 vital strikes per minute, in comparison with 5.37 per minute for Woodley. This explains the disparity in efficient putting between the 2 fighters. Due to that exercise, Usman lands three.93 vital strikes per minute, whereas Woodley lands 2.62. Although Woodley has labored to grow to be a serviceable striker, his touchdown fee is nicely under common for a ranked welterweight (three.54).
Woodley usually does a superb job of selecting his spots and exploding in flurries, however the welterweight champion has gotten himself into hassle with inactivity previously. If he permits Usman to set the tempo early within the struggle, Woodley may discover himself taking part in catch-up with the challenger and perhaps letting the choice slip away.
Although Usman has spectacular putting numbers, he’s reliant on his wrestling to arrange that offense. In his UFC profession, 41 % of his landed blows have come on the bottom. The excellent news for Usman is he has been a prolific takedown machine up to now. He makes an attempt eight.61 takedowns per 15 minutes of struggle time and lands four.47, which is the second-highest fee amongst ranked welterweights.
The unhealthy information is Woodley has all the time been a robust takedown defender. In his UFC/Strikeforce profession, he has stopped 95 % of his opponents’ takedown makes an attempt. He has not allowed a takedown since his determination loss towards Rory MacDonald in 2014, and he pressured Demian Maia to fail on 21 straight takedown makes an attempt at UFC 214.
One place that would change into the distinction on this struggle is the clinch. Whereas each fighters are stingy takedown defenders, the struggle will doubtless find yourself within the clinch. Even when they’re profitable at stopping one another’s wrestling assault, the bout would possibly play out alongside the cage, and this would possibly find yourself favoring Woodley. In his UFC/Strikeforce profession, 28 % of his landed vital strikes have come within the clinch place, in comparison with solely 13 % for Usman. If this turns into a standing battle for clinch place, Woodley will doubtless be the one scoring the extra impactful blows.
Usman can be in search of takedowns to arrange his finest offense, however he can even be hoping to keep away from the ability putting of Woodley. It took the previous wrestler a while to develop his knockout energy, however Woodley actually has it now. In his previous 13 fights, Woodley has averaged 1.02 knockdowns per 15 minutes of struggle time, and he has dropped 10 of his previous 13 opponents.
Although Usman has by no means been knocked down in his UFC profession, it might be a clever technique for him to search for takedowns and wrestle into the clinch to keep away from the ability from Woodley. It has been a difference-maker within the UFC welterweight division, and which may change into the case as soon as once more on Saturday.