UFC 235: Jones vs. Smith, on March 2 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, is an absolute monster of a fight card. With matchups such as Jeremy Stephens (28-15) vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov (16-1) and Misha Cirkunov (14-4) vs. Johnny Walker (16-3), even the preliminary card could easily headline on its own. The main card features four fights that could undoubtedly each be a main event. Ben Askren will make his much anticipated UFC debut against one of the most violent men to ever step foot inside the Octagon, Robbie Lawler. And on top of all of that, both main and co-main events of UFC 235 are title fights, showcasing two of the most prolific champions in MMA history, Jon Jones (Light Heavyweight) and Tyron Woodley (Welterweight).
Diego Sanchez (28-11) vs. Mickey Gall (5-1)
Diego Sanchez’s last 3 fights:
Mickey Gall’s last 3 fights:
The preliminaries begin with a classic matchup of old guard vs. new guard, in Diego Sanchez vs. Mickey Gall. While Mickey Gall is a stupendous grappler, the edge here obviously goes to the veteran Diego Sanchez.
MMA Tribune prediction: Diego Sanchez, decision
Cody Stamann (17-2) vs. Alejandro Pérez (21-6-1)
Cody Stamann’s last 3 fights:
Alejandro Pérez’s last 3 fights:
Cody Stamann vs. Alejandro Pérez features two well-established and experienced fighters. I think Stamann rebounds from his loss to Aljamain Sterling and gets the nod.
MMA Tribune prediction: Cody Stamann, decision
Misha Cirkunov (14-4) vs. Johnny Walker (16-3)
Misha Cirkunov’s last 3 fights:
Johnny Walker’s last 3 fights:
Things went from bad to worse for Misha Cirkunov as his original opponent Ovince Saint Preux was forced to pull out due to injury, and was promptly replaced by Brazil’s Johnny Walker. I can not think of a more dangerous fighter to be up against right now. Walker has won 13 out of his 16 professional victories by first round knockout or TKO, and he’s coming off of an absolutely brilliant performance against Justin Ledet earlier this month.
MMA Tribune prediction: Johnny Walker, 1st round TKO
Jeremy Stephens (28-15) vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov (16-1)
Jeremy Stephens’ last 3 fights:
Zabit Magomedsharipov’s last 3 fights:
The finale of the preliminary card certainly appears to be a barn burner, as UFC staple Jeremy Stephens takes on Zabit Magomedsharipov. As tough as an opponent as Stephens always is, I don’t see him getting past Magomedsharipov, who’s on a 12 fight win streak.
MMA Tribune prediction: Zabit Magomedsharipov, 3rd round submission
Cody Garbrandt (11-2) vs. Pedro Munhoz (17-3,1)
Cody Garbrandt’s last 3 fights:
Pedro Munhoz’s last 3 fights:
Cody Garbrandt’s victory over Dominic Cruz was probably the most dominant display of striking that I’ve ever seen. It looked like Garbrandt was on an indomitable path to UFC gold. That was until he fought TJ Dillashaw. Twice. That being said, I think Garbrandt rebounds big here against Munhoz and get’s back in the W column.
MMA Tribune prediction: Cody Garbrandt, 1st round KO
Tecia Torres (10-3) vs. Weili Zhang (18-1)
Tecia Torres’ last 3 fights:
Weili Zhang’s last 3 fights:
If you haven’t seen China’s Weili Zhang fight yet, then you’re missing out on one of the most dominant women in the sport of mixed martial arts. Although this is just her third fight with the UFC, Zhang is more than qualified to handle the likes of fighters such as Tecia Torres. Zhang hasn’t lost since her very first fight, and she has been simply superior in every second of every round that I’ve seen her perform. Although she might not get the finish here, I definitely think she gets the nod.
MMA Tribune prediction: Weili Zhang, decision
Robbie Lawler (28-12,1) vs. Ben Askren (18-0,1)
Robbie Lawler’s last 3 fights:
Ben Askren’s last 3 fights:
MMA fans around the world are rejoicing to finally get to witness Ben Askren’s UFC debut. There are so many questions to be answered here, but most prominently, “Will Ben Askren be as dominant in the UFC as he has been everywhere else?” There couldn’t have been a tougher opponent for Askren to face first than Robbie Lawler. Although he’s lost two out of his last three, there is a reason why Lawler is highly regarded as one of the most violent tacticians in the sport. However, I just don’t see how Ben Askren doesn’t get this fight to the ground and, well, do what Ben Askren does.
MMA Tribune prediction: Ben Askren, 2nd round TKO
Tyron Woodley (19-3-1) vs. Kamaru Usman (14-1)
Tyron Woodley’s last 3 fights:
Kamaru Usman’s last 3 fights:
Love or hate Tyron Woodley, there’s no denying that he is one of the greatest Welterweights ever. Aside from having knock out power that’s at least a weight class above his own, Woodley’s jiu jitsu is top notch, and he got to show it off at UFC 228, submitting Darren Till with a D’Arce choke. Although Kamaru Usman is on a 13 fight win streak, this is his first real test in the UFC Welterweight division, and I don’t think he gets past Woodley.
MMA Tribune prediction: Tyron Woodley, 3rd round submission
Jon Jones (23-1,1) vs. Anthony Smith (31-13)
Jon Jones’ last 3 fights:
Anthony Smith’s last 3 fights:
I think this fight is a lot closer than Vegas oddsmakers are making it out to be. Obviously, Jon Jones is the favorite. I might even agree that Jon Jones is the most dominant fighter yet seen in MMA. But Anthony Smith has been on an absolute tear lately, winning fourteen of his last sixteen fights. We all know how important mental toughness is in this sport, and there’s no doubt that Smith has it. That being said, I don’t think he beats Jon Jones, but I do think that he will have a much better outing than what the lines are predicting.
MMA Tribune prediction: Jon Jones, decision
What do you think? Like, comment and share. Tell me where you think I may have gotten it wrong.