Jon Jones, Anthony Smith, Tyron Woodley, Kamaru Usman: this is a loaded mega-event. UFC 235 kicks off this Saturday evening at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in what has to be the best card of the year to date. UFC 235 is stacked from top to bottom.

Knowing some of the fighters on the card, blood will flow and action will be abundant. Let’s look at a couple of the matchups and breakdown the fighters. Odds have been set for each matchup at various locations. We’ll be using those from Sportbetting.ag, you can find an unbiased sportsbetting.ag review here.

The Main Event

Jon Jones is an athletic phenomenon. He boasts a style and grace in the octogen unlike any light heavyweight before him. He’s relaxed, like it’s no big deal to be standing in front of some of the most brutal fighters in the world. Jonny Bones biggest enemy is controversy. No fighter has taken him down. And I hate to spoil the fight ahead of time and spoil the rest of this section, but it isn’t going to be Anthony Smith.

OK … Let me take that back.  Anything can happen when a pair of 205-pounders are dropping bombs on each other. So there is a chance that Smith could catch Jones. But the odds are not in his favor. Jon Jones is a heavy, -900 favorite at Sports Betting and most other shops, and at Bookmaker, he’s all the way up at -1450.

Anthony Smith is good in the clinch and he’s good on the ground. That said, he is not great at either. At range, there is no way to compare him to a talent like Jonny Bones. Jones’ power, movement and creation of angles are unparalleled. Smith too one-dimensional and he doesn’t have clear one-shot power that could come out of nowhere and stun Jon Jones to a point where he could finish him.

Some of the other fights are harder to make a prediction on, this one, not so much. Anthony Smith isn’t going to last for more than two rounds with Jon Jones. We should see a second-round victory by Jon Jones. If you really want some value, take that prop.

The Other Main Event …

Tryon Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman isn’t nearly as easy to breakdown. The odds have Woodley as a -190 favorite, but you can also find Usman at short as +140. Anywhere you look, you won’t find Woodley breaking that 1 to 2 mark on the odds boards; in the fight game, these odds are close.

Usman is a world-class wrestler. He took the NCAA Division II national title in 2010 and also help the University of Nebraska at Kearney win their first ever team title in 2008. On the flipside of the wrestling coin, Woodley, although not a national champ is a two-time Division I All-American out of Mizzou.

So, Kamaru’s superior wrestling will be somewhat neutralized by Woodley’s uber-high level of wrestling. When you look at MMA forums, you’ll see that about 80% of the public are on Woodley to win …which, is understandable. But we shouldn’t tfurn a blind eye to Usman. Yes, Woodley has more experience, a lot in fact. And he is the more complete fighter so I would give him the edge. But He isn’t going to be able to dominate Usman with his wrestling like he can with other welterweights. He is going to have to rely on his striking ability and for those that don’t follow The Chosen One, he has a mean right hand.

Usman has clearly been working on his striking over the last year or so. Just a few fights ago, he looked like a pure wrestler, but now his jab has gotten to a point where he can control the distance and set his opponents up for takedowns.

Woodley hasn’t faced another wrestler of this level. If Usman can use that stiff jab to create solid takedowns without getting caught by a heavy right, he has a legitimate chance to win this fight. It is going to be a close match. The Champ could knock Kamaru out …  but Usman is relentless and just might throw Woodley off his game.
It could go either way, but I’m taking the dog in this fight. Usman pulls out a huge upset and gets a late-round TKO.