It didn’t take long for the UFC to produce what could very well be its most promising fight card of the year. UFC 235 is set to go down on March 2nd at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and the card is stacked, including a pair of co-main event title fights at the very top of it. All eyes will be on headliner Jon Jones, though, who always attracts a lot of attention whenever he’s in the Octagon.
UFC Light Heavyweight Bout
Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith
Odds: Jones -850
Smith has been outstanding in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, earning a title shot by taking down Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua and Volkan Oezdemir with stoppage victories. However, Jon Jones is a much different animal, which explains why he’s such a heavy favourite. Although it gets overlooked a little bit these days since he’s had so many issues outside of the Octagon, ‘Bones’ Jones has never really lost. He had his disqualification for illegal strikes against Matt Hamill (a fight he was handily winning), but has otherwise dominated almost everyone. He’s fresh off a Round 3 TKO of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in December.
UFC Welterweight Championship Bout
Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman
Odds: Woodley -190
Woodley isn’t nearly as big of a favorite as Jones for his championship title defense but he’s still expected to defend his title. Usman is getting his first opportunity at UFC gold. And while he is an extremely impressive fighter, it probably should have been Colby Covington that got the No. 1 contender assignment instead of him. Woodley is coming off a second-round submission win over Darren Till in September and hasn’t lost since June of 2014. Usman has won 13 straight fights, but not many have been A-list wins. However, he’s coming off back-to-back wins over Rafael dos Anjos and Demian Maia.
Robbie Lawler vs. Ben Askren
Odds: Askren -280
Askren has absolutely dominated outside of the UFC over the years with 18 wins and a no-contest to his name. After scoring TKO wins over Zebaztian Kadestam and Shinya Aoki in ONE Championship, Askren finally makes the jump to the UFC to take on the former welterweight champion in Lawler. Askren could have the upper hand in this one with Lawler losing two of his last three fights, including a decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos in December. This should be a close fight that could go either way.
Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang
Odds: Zhang -130
The women’s strawweight division offers a pretty intriguing bout with Zhang set to take a major step up in competition versus Torres at UFC 235. Despite the improved competition, Zhang is still the betting favourite, although the odds are only slightly shaded in her direction at -130.
Torres is coming off back-to-back losses to Jessica Andrade and Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her last two fights, so she should be feeling a sense of desperation. At the same time, Zhang is the more confident fighter right now.
Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz
Odds: Garbrandt -175
Opening the main card is a bout with “Fight of the Night” potential as a pair of absolute studs look to showcase their skill set in the bantamweight division. Garbrandt, a former UFC bantamweight champion, is coming off back-to-back losses to current champ T.J. Dillashaw, but is still undefeated in his other 11 professional fights. Now he will need to prove he still has it against a talented opponent in Munhoz, who is coming off back-to-back wins.