UFC 235 Predictions: Jones vs. Smith

UFC 235 is right around the corner. The event takes place inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday night (March 2). In the main event, Jon Jones will defend his UFC light heavyweight championship against Anthony Smith. In the co-headliner, welterweight king Tyron Woodley puts his gold on the line against Kamaru Usman.

MMA News has kept you posted with updates leading up to fight night. That includes the UFC 235 weigh-ins. The time has arrived for our UFC 235 predictions courtesy of myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens.

Here’s how the rest of the UFC 235 main card stacks up:

  • Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones (c) vs. Anthony Smith
  • Welterweight: Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Welterweight: Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler
  • Strawweight: Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang
  • Bantamweight: Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz

Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Anthony Smith has heart. In a good portion of his bouts inside the Octagon, he’s been outstruck only to come back and win the fight. That’s durability for you, but you can’t let someone like Jon Jones beat up on you for long. Jones has the recipe, be it on the feet or on the ground. I expect Jones to pick apart Smith on the feet and finish him off on the ground. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

Ed Carbajal: The interesting thing about this fight is that this may be the first time Jones is the older man in the competition. Granted, it is only one year older than Smith but for some reason that stands out when looking at this fight. Smith holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and that may or may not be an advantage against someone like Jones, who has beaten black belts of various styles. Call it crazy talk, but Smith has torn through his competition at light heavyweight and he may have Jones’ number at UFC 235. (Prediction: Anthony Smith)

Andrew Ravens: The betting odds will agree with me in the fact that although Smith has looked pretty impressive in his latest UFC outings, Jon Jones is simply on a different level from Smith and that’s why I think most would pick Jones to win this fight. Despite his time off from the sport, Jones continues to get better and shows that each time he steps into the Octagon. Smith always has a chance at winning, but I doubt it happens. Jones finishes him by TKO in the fourth round. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Jon Jones

Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Kamaru Usman likes to pressure his opponents. He’ll get in some good shots on the feet, back his opponent against the fence, and take them down. I don’t see this working against Tyron Woodley. I think Woodley’s power will cause Usman to use caution, so he won’t be as aggressive moving forward as he was against Rafael dos Anjos. I can see Woodley ending Usman’s night with a counter punch, or taking home a decision victory. (Prediction: Tyron Woodley)

Ed Carbajal: Usman has all the tools to beat Woodley and in making his climb to the title shot, he has been making claims of doing things better than Woodley. However, when looking at the two welterweights it is hard to pick against Woodley who has more finishes on his record. Usman may be able to outwork the champ but Woodley has shown he has an answer to every opponent’s strengths he has faced lately and he likely has one for Usman. (Prediction: Tyron Woodley)

Andrew Ravens: Usman has been on fire as of late while Woodley has been on the shelf. Although Usman is an entertaining fighter, I expect the champion to do what Woodley does the best which is to stick with his game plan no matter how lackluster that can be. Woodley will do his best to outpoint Usman and does that after five rounds to earn the unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Tyron Woodley)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Tyron Woodley

Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler

Fernando Quiles Jr.: I think Robbie Lawler will be going to “Funky” town for 15 minutes. Ben Askren’s wrestling is outstanding and while Lawler’s takedown defense certainly isn’t anything to snooze on, I believe Askren will put him on his back and keep him there. We may see Lawler have some blitzes in the stand-up, but I see him just being dumped back down to the mat. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

Ed Carbajal: Askren has admitted himself that Lawler is the worst match up for him. However, a win over the former champion will let the casual fans know who Askren is and the dominant wrestling he brings to the table. Lawler has left a lot of himself in the cage with the wars he has fought against top-level fighters during his title reign and he still has the power to drop Askren at any moment. While Askren’s style of fighting may not be entertaining, it is smart and he may be able to get past Lawler’s hands to earn a decision win. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

Andrew Ravens: This will be one of the more interesting fights on the card and comes down to which fighter can implement their power on the other. If Askren can’t get Lawler down on the ground and keep him there, then it’s going to be a long night. Lawler is not the same fighter that he once was that made him a champion. However, he can still keep up with the best fighters in the world. It’ll be a competitive fight, but Askren gets it done by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Ben Askren

Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Weili Zhang opened a lot of eyes with her destruction of Jessica Aguilar back in November. While Aguilar has been beaten before, no one has done so in that fashion. While I don’t see Zhang having quite that performance against Tecia Torres, I do believe she’ll put Torres in some bad spots on her way to a decision victory. (Prediction: Weili Zhang)

Ed Carbajal: Zhang has only tasted defeat in her first pro MMA fight and has since been collecting wins since 2014. Torres may be the better-known fighter, holds an edge in wrestling, and may be stronger than Zhang but Zhang seems to have more tools to finish the fight. Torres will likely be tough enough to defend the attempts but if Zhang is the aggressor, she could walk out the victor. (Prediction: Weili Zhang)

Andrew Ravens: Fight fans should not be sleeping on Weili Zhang as she is on an 18-fight winning streak while Torres is on a two-fight losing streak. Yes, Torres has fought better competition, but I think that has had an impact on the wear and tear of her career. Zhang has something to prove and gets it done by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Weili Zhang)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Weili Zhang

Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Cody Garbrandt can finally put his mind at ease knowing that the drama with T.J. Dillashaw isn’t a part of fight week. While Pedro Munhoz provides a tough challenge, I think Garbrandt will be more calm and pick his shots wisely before nabbing a TKO finish. (Prediction: Cody Garbrandt)

Ed Carbajal: Munhoz is on a two-fight win streak while Garbrandt is coming off of two losses to T.J. Dillashaw. This fight could be a refresher for Garbrandt to get back on track if he can get past Munhoz. Not a lot to take away from these two given there has been no bad blood or trash talk but Garbrandt being a former champion is likely looking to send a message in this fight. He has taken enough time off to come back and remind fans of that high knockout rate he carries in his record. (Prediction: Cody Garbrandt)

Andrew Ravens: Although Munhoz is not someone to look past, Garbrandt should win this fight and do it compellingly. In a lot of ways, this is an important fight as many fans are looking to see if he can rebound in a big way after dropping two straight or fades away from what brought him to his champion status. Garbrandt finishes him in the first round by TKO. (Prediction: Cody Garbrandt)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Cody Garbrandt

That’ll do it for the UFC 235 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 235.