Victory extended Jones' undefeated record in world title fights to 13 as he successfully defended his title for the first time since recapturing the belt from Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in December.
Realistically, the only way Jon Jones loses this bout is if he makes an uncharacteristic mistake, and Smith is a big outside bet at +550, which could prove to be the upset of the night. "You guys have a star", he relayed to his countrymen, hoping they will tune in to watch the biggest moment of his seven-year professional career.
"With that being said, hats off to Anthony Smith".
Jones is one of the best athletes we've seen in MMA and his intelligence in the cage is near-faultless. Jones went on to give plenty of praise to Smith.
American Askren, 34, was slammed to the canvas and battered with heavy ground strikes as Lawler threatened to score an early stoppage win, but recovered admirably and locked up a bulldog choke to force the end of the contest.
Jones (24-1) had little trouble in an expert display of his all-around brilliance against the overmatched Smith (31-14), who had no answers for the likely pound-for-pound champion of mixed martial arts. Hey, do you want Tyron Woodley to shine your rim some more buddy?
He is unequivocally a better technical striker, has fought stronger competition on a consistent basis and his wrestling ability is at the very least on par with Usman.
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And United were ahead just before the hour mark when Lukaku slotted an effort into the bottom corner, having been played in by Pereira.
Covington nearly had a fight booked with Woodley for UFC 228, however he suffered a nasal injury and was unable to go through with the bout.
On Unlocking Victory, Gilbert Melendez displays what Kamaru Usman needs to do standing up to cause problems for Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. "I just can't", Usman said. I see this fight going how Askren wants it to, taking Robbie down, and keeping him on his back for the fight. I've only had about 25 fights, so my job is to know that I am up against a huge challenger and to take him seriously.
Robbie Lawler (28-12, 1 NC) vs. "I think he was so far ahead of the curve when he came onto the scene, so far ahead of everybody, that he was this mythical creature, and no one could figure out his style". I think if I do that, everything will be okay.
UFC 235 also features the awaited UFC debut of former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion Ben "Funky" Askren, as he faces Lawler.
"I just felt like Ben wanted to compete against the best guys, be treated fairly, be paid well and keep dominating, so I didn't know if he had to be in the UFC to actually facilitate those wants and needs", Woodley said.
Smith had promised to make Jones fight from the very first bell, but the onslaught never really materialized as Jones settled into a rhythm and took control of the fight. These two 135-pounders are extremely fast paced fighters with slick boxing techniques. He is the youngest fighter to ever win a championship at age 23.