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411’s UFC 235 Report: Jon Jones Defeats Anthony Smith

March 3, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree

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MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Champ Jon Jones (205 lbs.) vs. #3 Anthony Smith (204.5 lbs.) – for light heavyweight title
Champ Tyron Woodley (170 lbs.) vs. #2 Kamaru Usman (169 lbs.) – for welterweight title
Ben Askren (170.5 lbs.) vs. #6 Robbie Lawler (170 lbs.)
#7 Tecia Torres (115 lbs.) vs. #15 Weili Zhang (116 lbs.)
#2 Cody Garbrandt (136 lbs.) vs. #9 Pedro Munhoz (136 lbs.)

#13 Zabit Magomedsharipov (146 lbs.) vs. #6 Jeremy Stephens (146 lbs.)
#14 Misha Cirkunov (206 lbs.) vs. #15 Johnny Walker (205.5 lbs.)
#13 Alejandro Perez (136 lbs.) vs. #12 Cody Stamann (135.5 lbs.)
Mickey Gall (170.5 lbs.) vs. Diego Sanchez (170 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Charles Byrd (185 lbs.) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (184.5 lbs.)
Macy Chiasson (136 lbs.) vs. Gina Mazany (135.5 lbs.)
Hannah Cifers (114 lbs.) vs. Polyana Viana (115.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 235. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. Tonight the UFC brings two championship fights featuring a pair of dominant champions who are fighting to extend their legacies. In the main event UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones goes for his first official title defense since he beat Daniel Cormier the first time back in 2015, since then he’s had so many issues outside of the cage that despite not losing a fight he’s never been able to string together a title win and follow up defense. Jones smashed through Alexander Gustafsson in the last event of 2018 and this is one of the quicker turnarounds in the career of Jones. Opposite Jones is the surging Anthony Smith, Smith has rattled off three finishes since moving up to light heavyweight and he’s looking to shot the world.

The co-main event UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley is going for his fourth successful title defense and hoping to make himself the undisputed second best welterweight of all time with eyes on the top spot, held by GSP, as his career keeps going. Opposite Woodley is a fighter that no one in the UFC has been able to beat, and frankly a fighter who hasn’t really lost a round during his UFC tenure, Kamaru Usman. Usman could become the first African born UFC champion and he’s looking to establish himself as the top dog in one of the best divisions in the sport.

Beyond the top two fights you have the UFC debut of Ben Askren as he takes on former champion Robbie Lawler, rising strawweight prospect Weili Zhang taking a step up in competition against Tecia Torres, and former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt tries to rebound from his back to back losses against TJ Dillashaw against Pedro Munhoz, Munhoz is after the biggest win of his career against a former champion. Also you’ve got two prospects at light heavyweight battling it out when breakout fighter Johnny Walker battles Misha Cirkunov, and there’s a lot of interest in the featherweight bout between rugged veteran Jeremy Stephens and Zabit Magomedsharipov who’s trying to make the move from prospect to contender.

UFC 235 comes to the world from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have the trio of Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. As for the rules the Nevada State Athletic Commission has decided to further complicate things by coming up with another hybrid rules set: they’ve retained the old rules about being downed, so anything besides the soles of your feet on the mat make you downed, but have adopted other elements including the better language around scoring criteria and making extending fingers towards your opponent a foul regardless of contact being made. They’ve added another wrinkle with their stance on instant replay, it can be used at any time at the request of the commission or the referee, and the fight CAN be restarted after instant replay is used.

Polyana Viana has gone 1-1 in the UFC, she’s coming off of a loss that snapped a six fight winning streak and is looking to avoid her first ever losing streak. Hannah Cifers just had a five fight winning streak snapped in her UFC debut, now she’s after that all important first UFC win. The odds are with Viana at -275 against a +225 comeback on Cifers.

Strawweight Bout: Hannah Cifers (8-3, 114 lbs.) vs. Polyana Viana (10-2, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Viana is four inches taller and has five inches of reach advantage. Cifers circling to start, both women showing a bit of the lead hand. Inside leg kick from Viana but Cifers lands a counter right. The lead hand of Viana is really low, it’s by her waist more than even her shoulders and Cifers is swinging the right hand over it. Bit of a right from Viana but she gets countered again. A lot of feeling out still, they clinch up and Viana pulls half guard. Cifers lands some punches but Viana goes for a leg lock, nearly gets a toe hold but Cifers gets free and then makes Viana stand back up after landing a few more blows. Commentary is really on the Viana side of things so far. Cifers lands another right. Viana lands a left body kick, tires a straight right kick but Cifers parries the kick and floors her with an overhand right. Cifers lands a few leg kicks while Viana hangs out on her back, then makes Viana stand back up. A couple more body kicks from Viana but Cifers lands another counter punch. Viana lands a knee, then tries the front kick but again gets countered as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cifers

ROUND TWO: Viana lands a front kick but gets countered again. Cifers lands a couple of punches in close then they both land rights. A few inside leg kicks from both women, things are picking up now. They clinch up, Viana briefly drops Cifers with a left but Cifers back up and takes her down into full guard. Viana lands a few elbows from her back. Cifers lands a few body shots but Viana is both tying her up and threatening with arm control and potential armbars. Bit of a right from Cifers, they’re kind of stalling out though, Civers isn’t making any attempts to pass and Viana’s guard work is rather one dimensional so far. Viana has out landed from the bottom to this point. The round will come to an end in that position.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Viana, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Both women back to leg kicking and falling short with punches. Bit of a combination from Viana but a lot of it fell short. Cifers lands a right to the head. A couple of body shots from Cifers, Viana lands a couple of knees up the middle to stifle the forward motion of Cifers. They trade body kicks. Viana lands another body kick. Cifers swings a right to the body, another one but Viana lands a right. A couple more rights from Cifers land, when she gets into the pocket she’s having some notable success. Right to the body from Cifers. Viana lands a body kick, it’s caught and they clinch up then trade body work. Knees from Viana then Cifers lands a left hook on the break. Cifers lands a couple of rights. They trade body kicks then Cifers lands a right. Another body kick from Viana then a right, they get close and trade wild punches for the last few seconds of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Viana but a close round, 29-28 Viana overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Hannah Cifers via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

No real issues with the split decision, rounds one and two were rather clear but round three had plenty of moments for each woman. No interview for Cifers.

Gina Mazany has gone 1-2 in the UFC, she’s coming off of a loss and is hoping to get her UFC record back to the .500 mark while avoiding her first losing streak. Macy Chiasson is undefeated as a professional and won her UFC debut when she also took home the trophy for winning one of the more recent seasons of TUF, now she’s looking to remain perfect and start climbing the ranks in the UFC. Chiasson is your -500 favorite while the +375 payout for Mazany has to tempt those who like gambling on long shots.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Macy Chiasson (3-0, 136 lbs.) vs. Gina Mazany (5-2, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Chiasson is five inches taller and has three and a half inches of reach on Mazany. Mazany fighting southpaw. Chiasson coming forward early, she lands a body kick. Another body kick from Chiasson, Mazany lands a left. A couple of lefts to the body from Mazany but she’s struggling with the distance so far as Chiasson fights long. Chiasson lands a series of body kicks, Mazany lands a left. They clinch up and Chiasson gets Mazany to the fence. They trade knees to the body, Mazany does a good job of grip fighting but on the break Chiasson clips her with punches and never lets her recover, dropping Mazany and pounding her out on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Macy Chiasson via TKO, punches, at 1:49 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Chiasson for her work this evening. Mic time for Chiasson, she feels good at bantamweight and looks forward to continuing her career at this weight class. She talks us through the finish, noting she did a lot of prep work for Mazany backing into the fence, and that will close her interview.

Mazany clearly expects a slightly longer break after separating from the clinch, Chiasson instead uses the in between moments to launch offense, Mazany backs up while getting hit and winds up getting dropped with a solid right to the jaw.

Charles Byrd has gone 1-1 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss against Darren Stewart and is looking to rebound here while avoiding his first professional losing streak. Edmen Shahbazyan is undefeated and coming off of a win in his UFC debut when he scored a win over Darren Stewart, he’s looking to keep that momentum going here. The odds are with Shahbazyan at -150 against +130 for Byrd.

Middleweight Bout: Charles Byrd (10-5, 185 lbs.) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (8-0, 184.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Shahbazyan is four inches taller but has just one inch of reach. Shahbazyan is also fourteen years younger. They touch gloves to get things going. Both men circling and probing with the jab, Byrd lands a leg kick. Bit of a right and an uppercut from Shahbazyan, Byrd shoots a single leg and Shahbazyan unloads the elbows to the head as Byrd was bent over holding the single leg and a few of them drop Byrd and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Edmen Shahbazyan via TKO, elbows, at :38 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Shahbazyan for his work this evening. That quick fight will definitely get Shahbazyan an interview, he says he knew he could land those elbows once Byrd shot on him. He talks us through the finish, thanks Byrd for the fight, and says he’s trying to become the youngest world champion ever. He asks to be on Joe Rogan’s podcast and hopes everyone will watch his team mate Mickey Gall on ESPN later.

Here’s the finish. Byrd starts with his head on the outside for the shot, moves to inside the hip trying to finish the single leg but leaves his head there too long when he should have ducked back to the outside for a high crotch, instead he leaves his head in a vulnerable position and Shahbazyan elbows his head and gets the finish.

That’s going to wrap up Fight Pass fights, we’ll be on ESPN for the rest of the prelims. There’s a basketball game on right now but it should be done in time for the fights to go on as scheduled.

Minor update on the schedule, the basketball game between North Carolina and Clemson is still ongoing, at the moment it seems that the fights will be delayed until the end of that game but if they get moved to another channel I’ll be sure to let you know.

Diego Sanchez has been around the UFC forever but has been on a pretty rough streak as of late, he’s 2-3 in his last five fights and has been finished rather violently in all of those losses. Sanchez is coming off of a win though and he’s trying for his first winning streak since 2011. Mickey Gall has gone 4-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a win, he’s looking to take out a very recognizable name here and get his second UFC winning streak going. Gall is your -240 favorite against a +190 comeback for Sanchez.

Welterweight Bout: Mickey Gall (5-1, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Diego Sanchez (28-11, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gall is four inches taller and has two inches of reach on Sanchez. Sanchez fighting southpaw per usual, Gall lands a couple of rights and they clinch then Sanchez lands an uppercut and they break. A few high kicks from Gall are blocked. Gall lands a right and they clinch up. In the clinch Gall swings some rights to the head and body then clubs him as he breaks. Sanchez whiffs on a few punches. Gall lands an inside leg kick. Sanchez has no read on the distance, he’s swinging wild hooks that are falling short. They clinch up again, this time Gall’s back is on the fence. Sanchez drops for a double leg and gets it against the fence. Gall looking for a sweep, decides a wall walk is better and he’s up but Sanchez has a rear waist lock. Sanchez drags things back to the mat, Gall back up but still in the clinch. Gall tries a granby roll but Sanches rolls with him and keeps his hands locked. A few blows land for Gall, Sanches takes him back down. Elbows to the body from Sanchez and he’s stacking Gall up. Gall keeps looking to go inverted for a leg lock but Sanchez is reading it and moves to side control. Sanchez will just hold side control until the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sanchez

ROUND TWO: Sanchez opens with an inside leg kick. Gall avoids a few punches, lands a bit of an uppercut but Sanchez clinches up and drives him into the fence. Gall breaks free without issue, Sanchez lands a body kick. Sanchez is covering up a lot at distance but it’s working. Gall lands a counter left hook that rocks Sanchez but he stays upright. Another clinch and Sanchez drops Gall to the body with a knee, but they both fail on back takes and Sanchez winds up on top landing elbows to the body. Gall back up, Sanchez drags him down and lands in side control. Gall is done, he’s gassed out hard and Sanchez moves to full mount. Sanchez has to move to side control again to avoid Gall bridging off of the fence and keeps top position. A few elbows from Sanchez but his pace isn’t exactly setting things on fire despite Gall being done. Knee on belly for Sanchez, then back to full mount and he looks for more elbows. Gall gives up the back, Sanchez just swarms him with punches until the ref stops it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Diego Sanchez via TKO, punches, at 4:13 of Round 2

That’s Sanchez’s first finish in eleven years, since the Fioravanti fight. Cut Gall, he’s not UFC caliber. Mic time for Sanchez, he says his earlier passion for anti-aging is his plan after fighting and that’s paying dividends now. He says this was a good night, talks us through the finish mentioning he wanted to let Gall tire himself out in the first. To close he expresses love for the universe.

Pretty basic stuff here, Gall is too gassed to do anything but posture a bit on the mat and Sanchez slowly ramps up the volume of offense until the ref saves Gall.

Cody Stamann just had a ten fight winning streak broken when he lost to Aljamain Sterling, he’s trying to rebuild his career in the wake of that defeat and avoid his first ever losing streak. Alejandro Perez has gone 8-1-1 in the UFC and hasn’t lost in his last seven fights, he’s trying to advance in the rankings while extending that impressive streak. The odds are close but like Stamann at -190 against +160 for Perez.

Bantamweight Bout: #13 Alejandro Perez (21-6-1, 136 lbs.) vs. #12 Cody Stamann (17-2, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Perez has two and a half inches of reach on Stamann. Forward pressure from Stamann immediately, and he lands a calf kick. Perez lands a counter left hook. Stamann misses a high kick. A few kicks to the leg from Stamann, and the portion of the crowd that “woo’s” has arrived. Perez nearly lands a knee as Stamann was ducking down at the waist. Perez coming forward at this point, lands a leg kick. Stamann catches a kick and nearly gets a takedown. They trade in the pocket, I think Stamann landed the better punch. Jabs from Stamann, Perez lands a bit of a counter right. Stamann lands an inside leg kick. Perez lands a left to the body then a right to the head. Perez avoids a takedown attempt and they trade along the fence. If Stamann can’t get the takedown his game seems less effective thus far. Stamann lands a couple of left hooks to counter the right of Perez, nice adjustment on his part. Double leg attempt from Stamann, they hit the fence and Stamann gets a body lock takedown as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Stamann

ROUND TWO: Perez coming forward, lands a left to the body. Stamann is pushing forward and lands a bit of a right. Both men land rights, Perez lands a leg kick. Bit of a body kick from Stamann. Stamann lands a left, he’s getting a feel for the counter left based on what Perez is doing. Perez misses a right and Stamann tries a takedown that hits the fence. They spin a few times then separate with a body kick from Perez. Stamann lands a side kick to the body. Both men miss spinning attacks, then they both miss overhand rights. Perez is freezing a bit this round, he’s letting Stamann get ahead on points this round. A couple of leg kicks from Perez land. Stamann tries a takedown, they hit the fence again and Perez avoids the takedown but eats a few short punches on the way out. Another clinch and Stamann lands a knee to the body. They break, Stamann misses a spinning back kick and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Stamann, 20-18 Stamann overall

ROUND THREE: Perez coming out faster this round, lands a leg kick but walks onto a knee then gets a high crotch takedown. Stamann on his back as Perez stands over him landing leg kicks, Stamann back up and at distance. Bit of a left from Perez. Perez tries a single leg, Stamann defends so Perez lands a left hook as they separate. Stamann lands a couple of solid body shots that seem to slow Perez a bit. Perez whiffs on a couple of uppercuts, he’s fading a bit in the latter half of this round. Stamann lands a left hook. Both men land left hooks but Perez definitely landed the better shot. Stamann seems to think he’s won the previous two rounds and is fighting rather risk averse this round. A few body shots from Stamann, Perez lands a few leg kicks. Double leg attempt from Stamann that hits the fence, he’s able to get Perez down to his knees and then to his seat. The ref actually breaks them up, I do not agree with that one. Stamann lands a left after taking a leg kick. Right from Stamann lands then a body kick. Perez lands a body kick as the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Perez, 29-28 Stamann overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Cody Stamann via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Not a bad fight but nothing terribly memorable. No interview for Stamann.

Misha Cirkunov recently broke a two fight losing streak, now he’s trying to get his second UFC winning streak going and prove that can still becoming a contender in the light heavyweight division. Johnny Walker has gone 2-0 in the UFC and is riding an eight fight winning streak, he took this fight on short notice but could truly solidify himself as a rising contender with a win. Walker is a slight -155 favorite against a +135 comeback for Cirkunov.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #14 Misha Cirkunov (14-4, 206 lbs.) vs. #15 Johnny Walker (16-3, 205.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Walker is three inches taller and has five inches of reach on Cirkunov. Cirkunov fighting southpaw, lands an inside leg kick. Massive jumping knee from Walker floors Cirkunov and this one is all over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Johnny Walker via TKO, flying knee and punches, at :36 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Walker for entering the premium level of membership. Walker might have injured his left arm/shoulder trying to go for the worm in celebration, which would just be hilarious and borderline tragic. Mic time for Walker and his translator, he’s first asked about possibly injuring himself, he laughs and says “a little bit”, he might have dislocated his shoulder on that. He smiles through the replay of that failed celebration, then jokes that if he can survive what he does to himself he can take out anyone in the cage. He talks us through the finish, stressing the drilling and desire for perfection, then jokes that he loves Mickey Mouse, pimps his social media and says he needs some sponsors.

Take a look at this. Walker switches his stance safely at distance a few times, feints with his hips and hands to kind of overload the mind of Cirkunov, then when Cirkunov ducks his head biting on a feint and raises his lead leg because he doesn’t know what’s coming he’s locked into position for the jumping knee that lands flush to the face. If you look beyond the crazy stuff Walker’s set ups are effective and no one he’s fought in the UFC has even pushed him in a fight.

I mean, look at this in slow motion. Cirkunov puts himself on one leg and ducks into the open side given the opposite stances of the fighters, in trying to defend himself he compromises a bunch of his defensive options and Walker lands this picture perfect knee.

Jeremy Stephens just had a three fight winning streak broken when he was stopped in the first round by featherweight all time great Jose Aldo, he’s trying to bounce back here and stop the rise of one of the more hyped prospects in recent memory. Zabit Magomedsharipov has an absurd twelve fight winning streak going which includes four wins in the UFC, he’s trying to make the difficult transition from prospect to contender by taking out the best opponent he’s faced thus far. Magomedsharipov is your -250 favorite while a Stephens win would pay out at +200.

Featherweight Bout: #13 Zabit Magomedsharipov (16-1, 146 lbs.) vs. #6 Jeremy Stephens (28-15, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Magomedsharipov is four and a half inches taller but has just two inches of reach on Stephens. A bit of circling from Stephens, both men feinting with the level change as they move around. Inside leg kick from Magomedsharipov. A bit of stance switching from Magomedsharipov. Magomedsharipov lands a left. Stephens lands a leg kick. There’s a missed spinning back fist from Stephens and Magomedsharipov lands another inside leg kick. Body kick from Magomedsharipov. Stephens avoids a straight left but that punch from Magomedsharipov is straight and fast. A few more leg kicks from Stephens but he’s missing with punches so far. Magomedsharipov lands a left hook after Stephens landed a body kick. A lot of fighting while moving back from Magomedsharipov, and he lands a couple of hard calf kicks that have Stephens off balance. Stephens is doing a lot of following Magomedsharipov around the cage so far and Magomedsharipov is leading him into his shots. Stephens blocks a spinning back fist, he’s starting to cut the cage off now and that’s giving Magomedsharipov problems as soon as Stephens starts cutting him off. Leg kick from Stephens. Left from Magomedsharipov then he tries an inside leg kick but that hits Stephens in the groin. Stephens will have up to five minutes to recover, replay confirms the low blow. Stephens is good to continue and we’re back to fighting. Magomedsharipov tries a spinning kick, then tries a jumping kick off of the cage that are both blocked. Stephens coming forward, eats a body kick and misses a couple of hooks. Another body kick from Magomedsharipov will be the last blow of the round as he easily evades a winging punch from Stephens.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Magomedsharipov

ROUND TWO: Stephens lands a calf kick, and another one. Magomedsharipov lands a few front kicks to the body, Stephens complains of a groin shot but the break is very short. Stephens misses some punches, Magomedsharipov is moving very well now. Hook kick from Magomedsharipov. Magomedsharipov lands a leg kick. A couple of straight lefts from Magomedsharipov fall just a bit short. Stephens blocks a head kick. There’s a right from Stephens but Magomedsharipov just eats it. A few more front kicks to the body from Magomedsharipov then a left hook. Magomedsharipov lands a straight left then a left to the body. Single leg from Magomedsharipov, Stephens blocks the first attempt but Magomedsharipov moves to a double leg and gets Stephens down. Stephens back up along the fence, Magomedsharipov moves to the back and starts riding him along the cage. A lot of mat returns from Magomedsharipov, this is an impressive ride and he’s sneaking in short blows. Another mat return and this time Magomedsharipov gets the back with both hooks in. Magomedsharipov working to flatten out Stephens and land punches. Elbows from Magomedsharipov and a hard left as he moves to full mount. Back mount again for Magomedsharipov, he’s floating all over Stephens when Stephens tries to move. Magomedsharipov lands a few more elbows as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Magomedsharipov, 20-18 Magomedsharipov overall

ROUND THREE: Magomedsharipov opens up with front kicks to the body. Stephens lands an inside leg kick. Body kick from Magomedsharipov then a straight left. Stephens lands to the body but misses the follow ups. Magomedsharipov lands a left to counter an inside leg kick. Stephens lands a left but he’s struggling to follow up. Magomedsharipov misses on a single leg attempt but that attempt got him off of the fence. A couple of body shots from Stephens and a knee from Magomedsharipov. Magomedsharipov lands a left, Stephens is struggling with that. Magomedsharipov misses a single leg, this time Stephens lands an uppercut. Left from Magomedsharipov lands. Magomedsharipov lands an elbow. Stephens digs a left to the body and lands a straight right. Magomedsharipov lands a pull back right. Jumping knee from Magomedsharipov mostly lands. Stephens lands to the body and head, Magomedsharipov is countering but we’re getting a lot of pocket exchanges. They trade in the pocket, Magomedsharipov gets a single leg but can’t finish it and time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Magomedsharipov, 30-27 Magomedsharipov overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Zabit Magomedsharipov via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Stephens could have taken the final round without issue. Very quick interview for Magomedsharipov and his translator as we’re short on time, he puts over Stephens as tough and experienced but feels good about getting a win over a fighter of that caliber. Asked what he wants next he wants anyone in the top ten, whoever will get him closer to the title.

That’ll do it for ESPN, now to PPV for the main card.

Cody Garbrandt is in a really tough spot at the moment, he’s the former bantamweight champion but not only lost his title via stoppage he also lost the immediate rematch via stoppage as well. Garbrandt needs a win here pretty badly if he wants to remain in the orbit of the title picture despite consecutive losses to the current champion. Pedro Munhoz has gone an impressive 6-1 in his last seven fights and is currently on a two fight winning streak, a win here would be the biggest of his career given Garbrandt’s status as a former champion. The odds are with Garbrandt at -145 to a +125 comeback on Munhoz.

Bantamweight Bout: #2 Cody Garbrandt (11-2, 136 lbs.) vs. #9 Pedro Munhoz (17-3 1 NC, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Garbrandt is two inches taller but has just half an inch of reach on Munhoz. Munhoz avoids a leg kick to get things going. Munhoz catches a leg kick and lands a right, nearly gets a takedown but can’t secure the position and we reset. Jab from Garbrandt lands. Leg kick from Munhoz lands. Garbrandt leans away from a high kick and has a high kick blocked. There’s some stance switching from Garbrandt now, he lands a leg kick. They trade rights but Garbrandt’s technique is superior so far and he’s landing the better shots. Munhoz lands a calf kick. Bit of a leg kick from Munhoz after he blocked a combination. Garbrandt might be a little hurt to that lead leg. They both miss in close but the movement of Garbrandt is definitely compromised. Munhoz lands another calf kick. They clash heads and Garbrandt is hurt from it, Munhoz on top now in half guard. Garbrandt back up and lands a bit of a flying knee, they start swinging hooks in close at each other. They trade in close, this is insane. Munhoz lands the better hooks in the pocket, Garbrandt goes down and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Pedro Munhoz via KO, punches, at 4:52 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Munhoz for his work this evening. Shockingly bad decision from Garbrandt to engage in pocket brawling with a guy like Munhoz when he was the more technical fighter and was winning on the outside. Mic time for Munhoz, he says that was the game plan, he wanted to prove that he can strike as well as grapple and he loves to look for finishes. He talks us through the finish, plays with the crowd and says fights like that are his motivation, and really believes in his chin. Talking us through the finish he knew that once Garbrandt got emotional he could land like this and expresses a desire for a title shot. To close he says the division is great but he just knocked out the former champion in the first round and thinks he’s deserving of a title shot. Marlon Moraes disagrees.

This is basically the punch that ends things. After that clash of heads Garbrandt got emotional and really went after the brawl and Munhoz just proved to be the better brawler, they both landed in the pocket but Munhoz’s chin held up and Garbrandt’s didn’t.

You can see the clash of heads in this clip, and the resulting action is entertaining and insane but the bad decision making from Garbrandt directly costs him the fight.

Tecia Torres is on the first losing streak of her career, she’s dropped back to back fights to former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and current number one contender Jessica Andrade. Now Torres is trying to hold onto her top ten ranking in the face or a rising prospect. Weili Zhang is riding a massive eighteen fight winning streak that includes two wins in the UFC, she’s looking to improve upon her current ranking by taking out someone in the top ten and set her sights on the title picture later this year. Zhang is a slight -130 favorite against +100 for Torres.

Strawweight Bout: #7 Tecia Torres (10-3, 115 lbs.) vs. #15 Weili Zhang (18-1, 116 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Zhang is three inches taller and has two and a half inches of reach on Torres. They touch gloves to get us going. And my feed is stuttering a bit, stupid Utah weather. A few kicks from Zhang land, and a spinning back kick to the body. Torres is coming forward a lot but hasn’t landed anything yet. Body kick from Zhang and Torres lands a counter punch. They both land in close, Torres landed better though. Zhang with a right in close. Inside leg kick then a jab from Zhang and another spinning back kick. Zhang lands a left hook that stunned Torres, they clinch and Zhang gets a headlock takeover but Torres rolls through, they’re back up and Torres lands a right as they break apart. Zhang coming forward now, she misses a spinning back fist. They get close and clinch up on the fence, Zhang trying for a takedown and gets the backpack position standing. Heck of a transition from Zhang there. Zhang is on the hip more than the back at this point, Torres is looking to shuck her off and get on top. Zhang goes to just the clinch, lands a knee and Torres lands a right as they break. Another clinch, Torres gets the headlock takeover but gets rolled through and Zhang is on top in side control as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Zhang

ROUND TWO: Zhang lands an inside leg kick, Torres responds with a body kick. Side kick to the body from Zhang then a leg kick. Spinning back fist from Zhang lands in a glancing fashion. More inside leg kicks from Zhang. Bit of a body kick from Zhang. Check left from Zhang lands, Torres is struggling with the distance this round. They trade rights, Torres is looking to get into the pocket now. Zhang lands a side kick to the body then a left as Torres crashed distance. Just a consistent output from Zhang and it’s keeping Torres out of sorts. Straight kick to the knee from Zhang, Torres responds with a right and they clinch up. Torres is on the fence but has a body lock, Zhang gets the head lock takedown but settles herself this time into half guard. Zhang lands some offense but Torres is able to sweep her as Zhang got too aggressive looking to pass and Zhang closes her guard. A few elbows are traded. They trade offense, Zhang lands an up kick and Torres lands a hammer fist as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Zhang, 20-18 Zhang overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Both women land inside leg kicks, Torres lands a thrust kick to the hip. Zhang lands a side kick to the body. Leg kick from Torres. Bit of a right from Zhang to counter an inside leg kick. Zhang lands a left hook, Torres lands a counter and we’re brawling a bit before they clinch up again. Elbow from Zhang on the break. Spinning back fist from Zhang and they clinch, Zhang lands a knee and a right then clinches again. Knees to the body from Zhang and an elbow. Torres breaks but eats a body kick. Zhang back to the inside leg kick. Knee tap from Zhang into half guard and she’s landing some short lefts. Zhang looking to pass, winds up in half guard on the other side. A few elbows from Zhang land. More elbows from Zhang, Torres is kind of stuck in this spot. Time will run down in that spot, and with a few more elbows from Zhang.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Zhang, 30-27 Zhang overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Weili Zhang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

Big win for Zhang, might be time to jump on that bandwagon for Zhang. Mic time for Zhang, who got to 19 wins in a row after that one. She feels happy about the win and feels even better to beat a top ten opponent. She puts over Torres as a tough well rounded opponent and hopes to learn from the experience. Asked about what/who is next for her she’s just happy to be one step closer to the strawweight title. She switches to English to introduce herself to the audience, and does a darn good job of it considering it’s not her native language.

Robbie Lawler is a veteran of the sport and a former UFC welterweight champion, but finds himself just 1-2 in his last three fights and is coming off of a loss over a year ago when he fought Rafael dos Anjos. Lawler is trying to avoid his first losing streak since 2011 and remain a relevant figure in the division. Ben Askren is making his UFC debut here, he’s undefeated as a professional, has the longest title reign in Bellator history, and was the ONE Championship welterweight champion before he effectively retired in November of 2017. When the opportunity to compete in the UFC came he returned to competition and is trying to prove he’s one of the best welterweights with a win here. Askren closed as a -280 favorite against +230 for Lawler.

Welterweight Bout: Ben Askren (18-0 1 NC, 170.5 lbs.) vs. #6 Robbie Lawler (28-12 1 NC, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lawler has an inch of reach on Askren despite them being the same height. Southpaw for Lawler. Quick double leg attempt from Askren, Lawler sprawls but Askren moves to the back. Lawler with a bit slam that hurts Askren, Lawler on top with elbows from half guard. Askren holding on from the bottom, to his knees and back up in the clinch. Knee to the body from Lawler and he separates. Uppercut from Lawler as Askren is coming forward, Askren’s right eye is swelling but he pushes into a clinch and gets Lawler to the fence. Knees from Lawler, Askren lands one of his own. More knees from Lawler, Askren is keeping him tied up though. Single leg from Askren, to a double leg attempt and he’s looking to reap a leg. Lawler gets dumped to his seat and Askren gets the back but has no hooks in. Bulldog choke from Askren and Lawler looks out, the ref stops it but Lawler wasn’t out. In defense of the ref, Lawler’s arms appeared to go limp but they weren’t.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ben Askren via Tehcnical Submission, bulldog choke, at 3:20 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Dean Askren for his work this evening. Bad call by the ref but in real time it was technically understandable. Mic time for Askren, he asks Dana if that’s the best they’ve got. He says he was surprised by the stoppage but Lawler didn’t really respond to the ref. He says the crowd can boo but he’s not the ref, says Lawler is a personal favorite and says that slam really hurt him but he got his wits back and doesn’t plan on going anywhere. Asked about the stoppage again he says his job is to fight not run the rules.

Here’s the slam from Lawler, I’m looking for the finish so you all can decide for yourselves. Again, I think it was a bad stoppage but given the way things looked I can see how/why it happened.

Here’s the finish. A definite blunder by the ref IMO, but one that given the situation I can understand.

Kamaru Usman is on a thirteen fight winning streak and is an impressive 9-0 in the UFC, frankly I’m at a bit of a loss to remember even a single round he’s lost during his entire UFC run to this point. Usman is getting his first title opportunity here and hoping to add his name to that list of elite fighters. Tyron Woodley is the reigning welterweight champion, he hasn’t lost since 2014 and has three successful title defenses. Woodley is looking to solidify himself as the second best welterweight of all time behind only Georges St-Pierre with another successful title defense here. The odds are with the champion Woodley at -165 to a +145 comeback on Usman.

Welterweight Title Bout: (c) Tyron Woodley (19-3-1, 170 lbs.) vs. #2 Kamaru Usman (14-1, 169 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Usman is three inches taller and has two inches of reach on Woodley. Circling to start, Woodley putting himself on the fence per usual. Bit of a right from Woodley. Usman coming forward looking to pressure Woodley. Single leg from Usman, Woodley sells out for a guillotine but doesn’t have guard and winds up just holding the position with Usman on top of him in half guard. Some elbows to the thigh from Usman, Woodley looking to wall walk. Woodley to his knees, lands a right and Usman lands a knee to the body. Usman looking for a mat return against the fence as Woodley is back up but Woodley’s grip fighting is giving him some problems. Upward elbow from Usman then some more knees to the body as they jockey for position in the clinch. Woodley disengages without incident. Another shot from Usman against the fence, Woodley defending and lands a knee to the body on the break. Another clinch, more knees to the body. Usman is playing the long game here, just smothering and wearing down Woodley at a pace Usman knows he can keep for all five rounds. Both men land to the body as Woodley’s back is on the fence. The ref breaks them up after they kind of stalled out. Bit of a right from Woodley. Usman lands a right and then they clinch up again. Knee tap attempt from Usman, nothing doing and the round ends in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Usman

ROUND TWO: Usman coming forward again to start this round. Left from Usman lands. They clinch up again and Usman is back to going after the body. Hard elbow from Usman as they break and Usman is back on him then gets a body lock takedown into side control, and moves immediately into full mount. A few elbows from Usman sneak through, now rights to the head as well. Usman’s control is impressive, Woodley is stuck on his back. A few more elbows from Usman, Woodley is just fighting for posture control at the moment. Arm triangle attempt from Usman, Woodley defending but eating body shots because of it. Usman will end the round still in full mount.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Usman, 20-17 Usman overall

ROUND THREE: Usman coming forward again, Woodley’s lack of forward motion is really troubling. Woodley misses an overhand right. Leg kick from Woodley. Usman clinches up and they trade knees but Usman really digging rights to the body when he gets any space to do so. More rights to the body from Usman, but they’re not moving much and the ref pulls them apart. Usman with more forward pressure, Woodley backing up and circling. Bit of a knee from Woodley in close and Usman misses a couple of punches. Another clinch and Usman with more body shots. Woodley fires a few knees but he’s getting out worked pretty badly. More clinch wrestlers should take note of Usman’s commitment to body work in these spots, it pays off. The ref breaks them again, not sure I agree. More pressure from Usman, that man just will not be deterred. Woodley just misses a right. Usman punches into another clinch, lands an elbow as they break then closes distance again. More body shots from Usman. The round will end with more body shots from Usman.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Usman based on numerical dominance, 30-25 Usman overall

ROUND FOUR: Usman coming forward again. Leg kick from Woodley, he lands a bit of an uppercut then jumps for a guillotine as Usman got around his hips but loses the grip and Usman is on top again. Woodley is seated on the fence looking to wall walk but Usman is controlling him. Usman’s ground control is terrifying and brilliant. Body shots from Usman, Woodley is kind of just hanging on possibly looking for an arm drag set up. Usman pulls Woodley far enough away from the fence to force his guard closed and elbows him a few times. Woodley scoots to the fence again looking to wall walk but Usman is smothering him and beating him up. Shoulder thrusts from Usman. The ref stands them up, I definitely disagree with that one. They get close and Woodley fires a few uppercuts then Usman responds with knees to the body and head. Usman looking to flurry along the fence, he’s throwing the kitchen sink, Woodley lands a knee but he’s just getting over whelmed. Uppercuts from Usman, and he looks for a clinch as they both just basically emptied their gas tanks. Knees from Usman and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Usman again, 40-33 Usman overall

ROUND FIVE: Usman marches across the cage to Woodley and is pressuring him again. Jabs from Usman, then a single leg attempt that stalls out on the fence. They’re stalling out in this position as Woodley wraps the head, Usman with knees to the thigh and foot stomps then he gets the high crotch into half guard on the safe side of the choke. Body shots from Usman, Woodley is still holding the head. Usman’s shoulder pressure is impressive, and he’s looking to move to side control. Elbows to the body from Usman and shoulder strikes to the head. Short elbows to the head from Usman. Woodley is looking to bridge but doesn’t have the explosive energy anymore. Woodley tries to wall walk again, Usman continues hitting the body and lands a knee to the chest. Usman keeps Woodley on his seat and swings a few more punches as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Usman, 50-41 Usman overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Welterweight Champion – Kamaru Usman via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44 x2)

Giving Usman only one 10-8 round and one judge not even giving him that is ridiculous. Mic time for the new champion, who’s got his daughter in the cage with him, he says he’s been proving that no one can hang with him. He might not be the best striker or pure wrestler in the world but when it comes to mixing things up he’s the best welterweight on the planet. He puts over Woodley as a formerly dominant champion who a lot of people hated but he feels Woodley is one of the greatest welterweights of all time. Asked about the game plan he says this is what he worked on, he puts over his training group and coaches. To close he talks about his upbringing in Nigeria, says that his daughter lit a fire under his ass and he hopes his daughter remembers this day forever.

Woodley gets some mic time as well, he says Usman brought it and feels that Usman fought well and was really heavy, he makes no excuses he was prepared but just fought like he was in a bad dream. He lobbies for a rematch briefly before the interview ends.

Anthony Smith has gone 7-2 since returning to the UFC and has gone 3-0 since moving up to light heavyweight, he’s finished all of those fights and is looking to make good on his first title opportunity. Jon Jones is already the best light heavyweight fighter ever and an all time great, his lone professional loss was a dubious disqualification a decade ago. Jones recently regained the light heavyweight title by stopping Alexander Gustafsson, he’s looking to continue his new reign as champion and further cement his legacy in the cage as one of the very best ever. Jones is your prohibitive favorite at -900 against a +600 payout on a Smith win.

Light Heavyweight Title Bout: Jon Jones (23-1 1 NC, 205 lbs.) vs. #3 Anthony Smith (31-13, 204.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Jones has a whopping eight and a half inches of reach advantage. Jones does a lot of stance switching, they touch gloves to start things. Some front kicks to the thigh from Jones already, Smith lands a leg kick. Smith doing a bit of stance switching now as well. Jones misses a couple of punches. Spinning back kick to the body from Jones then a calf kick. Smith misses a few punches, Jones with another spinning back kick to the body then lands a leg kick. Smith lands a head kick, Jones catches it and drives into the clinch and has Smith on the fence. Shoulder strikes from Jones, and they trade knees to the body. They break without incident. Smith lands a calf kick. Bit of a left from Jones, both men trying to get reads on each other still. Side kick to the body from Jones. Smith falls short with a right. High kick from Jones is partially blocked then he lands a stomp kick to the knee. Another side kick to the body from Jones then a leg kick. That’ll bring the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jones

ROUND TWO: Smith showing the lead hand to start this round, Jones showing hooks. Jones lands an inside leg kick then a bit of a body kick. Another kick to the knee from Jones, Smith lands a counter right. Front kick to the chin from Jones and Smith is hurt and backing up to by time. Inside leg kick from Jones then a blocked high kick. Jones digs a couple of front kicks to the body, he’s got Smith on the fence. Spinning elbow from Jones into a clinch on the cage. They break without incident. Smith coming forward now, lands a bit of a right. Jones lands a leg kick. Another front kick to the body from Jones, those are getting to Smith at this point. Smith lands a body kick, Jones with more front kicks to the body and chest. Straight left from Jones and Smith backs up to the fence. Jones lands a leg kick, and another one. Another kick to the knee from Jones then an overhand right and body kick. Smith fires back, he’s game if nothing else. Leg kick from Jones lands. Smith blocks a high kick but he’s getting backed into the fence and Jones is breaking his body down methodically. Jones lands a leg kick, grabs a single leg and they wind up clinched as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jones, possible 10-8, 20-18 Jones overall

ROUND THREE: Jones lands a right to start the round. Another front kick to the chest then an inside leg kick from Jones. Jones shoots, winds up in the clinch and lands a hard knee to the body along the fence. Knees to the thigh from Jones as he’s got Smith pinned on the fence. Jones with more knees, Smith is doing a good job of avoiding being taken down but he can’t get out of Jones’ grip. A few more knees from Jones to the body and thigh, he thinks about a level change but thinks better of it to maintain the clinch. A few lefts to the body from Jones, those don’t feel good. Jones moves for a takedown and slams Smith down then starts smashing him. Smith to turtle position, Jones with a front head lock position. Credit to Smith for his grip fighting but Jones has positional dominance here and is riding him. Smith looking to wall walk now as he’s moved to the fence, Jones keeping him down on his knees and landing a few rights to the body and head. Knees to the shin/foot from Jones. That’s just mean. Some more rights from Jones to the body and thigh will bring the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Jones, 30-26 Jones overall

ROUND FOUR: Jones with a bit of a jumping side kick to the knee, mostly missed. Jones is backing Smith towards the fence, lands a hard spinning back kick to the body. Elbow from Jones, then an upward elbow. Smith is smiling but he’s getting picked apart. Jones digs some body shots then tires a jumping knee into the clinch. More body shots from Jones, and Smith is bleeding from the bridge of the nose. Jones trips Smith down and kicks him to the body a few times then goes down into his guard. Punches from Jones as Smith is sitting, Jones moves to his back and looks for a ride position. Hammer fists from Jones, Smith is bleeding badly from the nose. More punches from Jones. Smith back up but Jones has a rear waist lock and hits a mat return. Knees to the body from Jones, if he turned up the offense he could get a finish here. Smith still on his knees, Jones with elbows now as he pushes Smith to the fence and looks to tee off. More knees to the body from Jones, those hurt me just looking at them. Knees to the chest and body from Jones as Smith sits on the fence. Jones gets a front headlock position, he lands an illegal knee as Smith was looking to stand but while being on his feet his hand was down. Smith is getting checked by the doctor, he says he can continue and is standing against the fence. The ref takes two points from Jones, two points is usually done when the foul was deliberate, but they restart for the literal last second of the round.

SCORECARD: 8-8 DRAW after the two point deduction, 38-34 Jones overall

ROUND FIVE: Jones comes out pawing with the lead hand, and avoids a right. Jabs from Jones, and a right. Smith fires back, Jones lands an uppercut. Leg kick from Jones, then he tries a takedown but Smith sprawls free and separates. Jones kicks the knee, then the calf and avoids a right. Smith being backed up to the fence, eats a leg kick and Jones lands a stepping elbow to clinch up again. Jones digs to the body a few times with his left hand. Full wrist control from Jones in this position, it’s letting him just control and abuse Smith. Knee tap from Jones but Smith uses the fence to stay upright. Things are stalling out a bit, Jones lands to the body again. Shoulder strikes from Jones, and more body shots but this is mostly control from Jones. Foot stomps from Jones, and knees to the thigh. They break and Jones lands a bit of a flying knee as the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jones, 48-43 Jones overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Light Heavyweight Champion – Jon Jones via unanimous decision (48-44 x3)

The lack of 10-8’s for numerically dominant rounds when that bit of the new rules was specifically adopted annoys me. Jones on the mic now, he thanks God for allowing him to be in this position and helped him get back up after failing so many times. He says MMA is hard, sometimes you look amazing, sometimes you have a hard day at the office, then he puts over Smith as the only guy who’s talked to him in the cage as he was hitting him and calls Smith the Terminator and expresses pride in the career of Smith to this point and appreciates the respect they shared. Jones says he’s finally over a lot of the nerves and feels like a veteran as he’s coming into his prime, and says he felt like Randy Couture tonight but he fought the way he did because his strikes didn’t seem to phase Smith at all. Asked about what’s next he says he wants to just enjoy this win and figure out ways to get better, mentions the young guys coming up and that if he still defends that’ll be a huge challenge. He thanks his team, his fiance, and all the people who have helped him along the way.

Smith gets an interview now as well, asked about the illegal knee he says he wanted to win the title and he could have taken the DQ win but he wants to win it not steal it. He says nothing really surprised him, but this wasn’t his night and he wants to get better, then mentions the body work kept stopping him on his way in and notes he did everything he knew he shouldn’t have done.

Alright everyone, that’ll wrap up UFC 235. Thanks for being here, be that live or after the fact, I know there’s a lot of places that provide this service and am perpetually baffled, humbled, and motivated by it. We’ll be breaking down all the results from this event Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show, plus looking ahead to Fight Night 146 when Junior dos Santos meets Derrick Lewis in Wichita, Kansas. I’ll be back next Saturday for that event, I hope you’ll all come back as well. Until then thank you again, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.