UFC 235 Fight Week


Jon (Bones) Jones is much deeper into the minus money than he typically is during a title defense, but there is value to be found elsewhere.

Victory over Cirkunov would propel Walker into the pack of contenders in the UFC's 205-pound light-heavyweight division.

Smith to his credit has power, is aggressive in his stand-up and won't be dwarfed or intimidated by Jones' stature or quality.

Will a clear and calculating mind followed by natural strengths see Usman break the record books tomorrow? Woodley was a -200 favourite so the line movement suggests there is buzz about an upset.

It's becoming hard to imagine a Jones fight without controversy, and along with the illegal knee strike in Round 4 (and the illegal kick one round earlier to a fallen Smith that was blocked), Jones was back in the headlines again for abnormal drug tests results when tiny metabolites of a banned oral steroid were once again found in his system.

By far, it wasn't Jones' best performance, and he lost two points in the fourth round when referee Herb Dean deducted them from him for an illegal knee to the head of a downed opponent.

"I might not be the best striker in the world and I might not be the best pure wrestler in the world", he said.

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After winning belts in the Bellator and ONE Championship promotions, Askren (18-0) finally makes his UFC debut Saturday night against former champion Robbie Lawler. He is on a three-fight win streak, two of the wins being vicious first round knockouts.

But the court of public opinion has always reserved its verdict on Askren because he has never fought in the toughest proving ground in the sport - the UFC octagon.

The rest of the card offers an intriguing matchup between former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and undefeated wrestling powerhouse Ben Askren. Neither could exceed 170 pounds.

ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren of US talks to the media during the ONE Championship press conference at Marina Bay in Singapore. Woodley is known for focusing on countering opponents rather than pushing the action, which could result in a bit of a chess match between him and Usman as the two men look to get to the mat in an advantageous position. No one wants to see these boring fights. Askren's rights were acquired by the UFC in a trade with ONE in exchange for Demetrious Johnson. I still can't believe the UFC on ESPN.

The UFC president seemed genuinely annoyed when welterweight contender Colby Covington tracked him down and confronted him about a missed title shot while he was playing cards at a Las Vegas casino. I took the time to learn everything.

"I think that's the pressure".

After all the headaches he's caused - and there was another atypical drug test this week - it's a little surreal that his fight with Smith can be seen as a throwback to the good old days.