UFC 235: Jones retains, Usman claims
UFC 235 had two one-sided title fights, with Jon Jones defeating Anthony Smith to retain the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, and Kamaru Usman dominating Tyron Woodley to become the new UFC welterweight champion.
The two title fights capped off a stacked night of action for the world’s leading MMA promotion, who presented UFC 235 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event with Jones and Smith got off to a slow start, with both men feeling each other out. Smith tried to take away Jones’ striking by attacking his right hand, but Jones landed several clean, hard kicks throughout the five minutes. Smith fought hard in the second round, managing to cut open Jones around his eye, but Jones continued to beat him around with kicks.
Jones then was the one to attack hands in round three, giving Smith a taste of the medicine he brought in the opening round, before dumping the challenger down to the mat and staying in dominating top position. Jones dominated the fourth as well, but an illegal knee, while Smith was on the ground, stopped action briefly. Smith elected to go on, but referee Herb Dean deducted Jones two points for the illegal shot.
Those two points would do little, however, as Jones easily took the fifth and 48-44 scores across all three judges’ scorecards for a successful title defense.
In the co-main event, Kamaru Usman dominated Tyron Woodley like no one else had done before. Usman got out on the front foot right away, constantly trying to clinch up and take down the defending champion. He did just that many times throughout the fight. In fact, Usman had over 100 body strikes in the first four rounds of action, and his total control time by the fight’s end was over 15 minutes — a full three-round bout.
Usman dominated the second round, emphasizing it with a slamming of Woodley in the middle of the round. Usman constantly added to Woodley’s pain with knees throughout the clinch and ground-and-pound on the mat. And as the time went on, Woodley had little answer, and soon he was just taking everything Usman was dishing out at him.
Usman easily took the scorecards, 50-44, 50-44, 50-45 and became the 10th undisputed welterweight champion in UFC history.
The main card also saw the UFC debut of Ben Askren, who remained undefeated with a controversial win over Robbie Lawler. The former UFC champion slammed Askren to the ground hard suddenly in the opening minute, delivering hard strikes to the head, but referee Herb Dean elected to not stop the fight. Instead, Askren was able to fight back and get Lawler’s back to a cage wall for about two minutes before sinking in a bulldog choke. Dean waved the fight off, thinking Lawler had submitted or passed out, but Lawler immediately protested the decision once the hold was let go.
The main card opened with two upsets, as No. 15 women’s strawweight contender Weili Zhang scored a decision win over seventh-ranked Tecia Torres, while Pedro Munhoz pulled off a shocking first-round knockout of former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, bringing Garbradnt’s losing streak to three.
UFC 235 Main Card:
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: (c.) Jon Jones def. Anthony Smith via unanimous decision (48-44, 48-44, 48-44)
UFC Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman def. (c.) Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45)
Welterweight: Ben Askren def. Robbie Lawler via submission (bulldog choke) (Rd. 1, 3:20)
Women’s Strawweight: Weili Zhang def. Tecia Torres via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Bantamweight: Pedro Munhoz def. Cody Garbrandt via KO (Rd. 1, 4:52)
UFC 235 Preliminary Card:
Featherweight: Zabit Magomedsharpiov def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Light Heavyweight: Johnny Walker def. Misha Cirkunov via KO (Rd. 1, 0:36)
Bantamweight: Cody Stamann def. Alejandro Perez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Welterweight: Diego Sanchez def. Mickey Gall via TKO (Rd. 2, 4:13)
UFC 235 Early Prelim Card:
Middleweight: Edmen Shahbazyan def. Charles Byrd via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:38)
Women’s Bantamweight: Macy Chiasson def. Gina Mazany via TKO (Rd. 1, 1:49)
Women’s Strawweight: Hannah Cifers def. Polyana Viana via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)