Dominant Champions Face Surging Contenders At UFC 235 In Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 31: (L-R) Opponents Jon Jones and Anthony Smith face off during the UFC 235 Press Conference inside the David Copperfield Theater at MGM Grand on January 31, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Las Vegas – UFC® hits Las Vegas for the first time in 2019 with two highly anticipated world championship fights. Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones wastes no time getting back in the Octagon® as he takes on dangerous finisher and No. 3-ranked contender Anthony Smith. Also, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley goes for his fifth consecutive title defense against No. 2-ranked contender Kamaru Usman. UFC® 235: JONES vs. SMITH takes place Saturday, March 2 at T-Mobile Arena and will air live on Pay-Per-View.

Preliminary fights will air nationally in English and Spanish on ESPN and ESPN Deportes starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. In addition to linear coverage of the preliminaries, fans will be able to purchase and watch UFC 235 on ESPN.com/UFC235, beginning February 18 (once purchased, fans will be able to watch the event on the web or on the ESPN App on mobile or TV-connected devices). They also can purchase and watch UFC 235 on UFC.com or the UFC App.

Jones (23-1 1NC, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) reclaimed the light heavyweight championship in December with a spectacular TKO win over long-time rival Alexander Gustafsson. He now looks to further extend his record for most light heavyweight championship title defenses with another show-stealing performance. Throughout his career, Jones has defeated the who’s who of MMA, including Daniel Cormier, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Rampage Jackson and Shogun Rua.

A former middleweight mainstay, Smith (31-13, fighting out of Omaha, Neb.) looks to shock the world by dethroning the most dominant 205-pound champion in UFC history. A hard-hitting KO artist, Smith burst onto the light heavyweight scene less than a year ago. During this time, he has delivered highlight-reel finishes against Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua and Volkan Oezdemir. With momentum on his side, Smith has his sights on taking out Jones and capturing UFC gold.

A decorated grappler with KO power, Woodley(19-3-1, fighting out of St. Louis, Mo.) looks to continue his winning ways by stopping one of the welterweight division’s biggest threats. During his UFC run, he has beaten Darren Till, Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler and Kelvin Gastelum. In March, Woodley aims to further build his legacy as one of the greatest 170-pound champions in UFC history.

Currently riding a 13-fight win streak that extends more than five years, Usman (14-1, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla. by way of Auchi, Nigeria) is poised to shake up the 170-pound division. A dominating grappler, he has earned impressive victories against Rafael Dos Anjos, Demian Maia, Sergio Moraes and Sean Strickland. Usman is now gunning to dethrone Woodley and take his spot at the top of the division.

Additional bouts on the card include:

Former welterweight champion and No. 6-ranked contender Robbie Lawler (28-12 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) looks to spoil the highly anticipated debut of unbeaten Ben Askren (18-0 1NC, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.)

Former bantamweight champ and No. 1-ranked contender Cody Garbrandt (11-2, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) looks to get back in the win column against surging No. 9 Pedro Munhoz (17-3 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Sao Paulo, Brazil)

In a featherweight bout guaranteed to deliver fireworks, No. 6-ranked contenderJeremy Stephens (28-15, fighting out of San Diego, Calif.) battles No. 14 Zabit Magomedsharipov (16-1, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia)

No. 7-ranked strawweight contenderTecia Torres (10-3, fighting out of Colorado Springs, Colo.) aims to snap the winning streak of the rising Weili Zhang (18-1, fighting out of Beijing, China)

Light heavyweight contenders collide when No. 11-ranked Ovince Saint Preux(23-12, fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn.) faces No. 14 Misha Cirkunov (14-4, fighting out of Toronto, Canada)

No. 13-ranked bantamweight contenderThomas Almeida (22-3, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) looks to re-assert himself as a title threat against Marlon Vera (12-5-1, fighting out of Chone, Ecuador)

The Ultimate Fighter season one winnerDiego Sanchez (30-11, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) makes his 29th UFC appearance against hot prospect Mickey Gall (5-1, fighting out of Green Brook Township, N.J.)

Gina Mazany (5-2, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) battles The Ultimate Fighterseason 28 winner Macy Chiasson (3-0, fighting out of New Orleans, La.) in a bantamweight bout

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Author: Robert Belen

Robert Belen is a long-time combat sports writer for dSource Boxing. An avid sports fan, he knows no fear nor partiality in his reporting. If you have a problem with him, tell it to his face. (We bid you not.) You can follow him on Twitter @robertbelen

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