UFC 235: Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith
Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 6:30 pm EST
This is one of the best UFC PPVs I can remember. As a fight fan, I highly recommend ordering this card. Make sure you check out this week’s podcast with Tyler and me. The MMA optimizer should be launched for this week’s card and Tyler’s projections are available for you to create lineups.
The Main Event: Jon Jones $9.6K vs Anthony Smith $6.6K
Jon Jones should win this fight and outclass Anthony Smith everywhere. Anthony Smith has a puncher’s chance and that’s about it. Jones keeps excellent distance on the feet and on the ground, he is just too good for Anthony Smith. I expect to see Jon Jones finish this fight within the first two rounds. Jones is a strong play in cash games. Jones is a high-volume play in GPPs, but he will need to pay off that huge price so in multi-entry GPPs I would keep Jones out of some lineups. I am fading Anthony Smith but if you decide to play him, I suggest low volume in GPPs as a hedge.
The Co-Main Event: Tyron Woodley $8.7K vs Kamaru Usman $7.5K
Usman has one path to victory and that includes wearing Tyron Woodley out and stealing rounds. Usman is not going to strike with Woodley in the center of the cage and get the better of those exchanges. Usman is probably not going to have much success taking Woodley down early in this fight either. I expect Usman to close the distance and hang on Woodley early in the clinch; look for the takedown but I do not expect him to have early success. If Usman can keep this fight dirty and keep himself attached to Woodley, then he has a chance to steal rounds and earn a decision win. If Usman is successful in slowly Woodley down and emptying his gas tank, he may have more success striking and with his takedowns. Usman has good boxing, but Woodley is more powerful and has the speed advantage. Usman is a GPP option and you may need to play him in cash if you try to sneak in a few of the higher priced guys. Woodley is a GPP option for me in all formats, but I would not play him in cash.
GPP Fight: Charles Byrd $8K vs Edmen Shahbazyan $8.2K
This should be a really good fight for as long as it lasts. Shahbazyan beat Darren Stewart in his UFC debut and Byrd was stopped by Stewart in his last fight. With that said, Byrd was out striking Stewart for the majority of the fight until Stewart landed a short elbow and promptly finished Byrd. I was very impressed with Byrd on the feet and I do like his ground game based on previous video footage. Shahbazyan only landed 22 significant strikes vs Stewart and opted for a takedown-heavy attack to win his debut. Shahbazyan did gas in that fight so this fight could get really ugly if he opts for a similar game plan here. These guys are just about interchangeable in GPPs at this price so I would use them both in this fight. I like Byrd to win via stoppage, but I would play this fight as close to 50/50 as possible unless you have a strong lean either way. My lean is with Byrd.
GPP Fight: Misha Cirkunov $7.8K vs Johnny Walker $8.4K
This fight should finish; most likely in Round 1. I have been on Walker in his 1st two UFC wins but I don’t like this quick turnaround vs Cirkunov. Walker fought Ledet three weeks ago and finished him very quickly, so he did not take any damage. He is tall, long, and very athletic. Misha Cirkunov moved his camp to Vegas before his last fight which he finished in Round 1 and I think the change of scenery is just what he needs to get back to winning. I expect Cirkunov to get Walker to the ground and work his submission game early. His striking is good, but I see him with a ground advantage vs Walker. Play both guys in GPPs but I will be heavily on Cirkunov in this spot.
Sneaky GPP Fight: Mickey Gall $9.1K vs Diego Sanchez $7.1K
The difference in experience between these two fighters makes Diego Sanchez a legit cash and GPP play. Mickey Gall has fought low-level competition and his striking is not very good. Sanchez can work a similar game plan to his Craig White fight. Sanchez can push a pace, crowd Gall and put him on his back. Gall is a submission guy, but he did not look comfortable on his back vs Randy Brown. If Gall is able to get top control or take Sanchez back, he can lock in an RNC so Gall is a GPP play in this spot.
Top Tier Leans ($9.6K-$8.6K):
- Polyana Viana $9.2K – Viana has a length advantage with both height and reach. She can stay on the outside of Cifers and hit her while Cifers will need to close that distance to have success on the feet. In addition, Viana should have a big advantage on the ground and holds legit submission possibility. I would play her in GPPs. I expect to see a better showing from Cifers in her 2nd UFC fight.
- Macy Chiasson $9.4K – Chiasson is the TUF 28 winner and all of her fights on the show finished. She is powerful and much bigger than most of her opponents. I like Chiasson to win this fight. My only concern is her price tag and she’ll need a finish to pay that off for GPPs. She is a finisher so she’s an option in GPPs.
- Zabit Magomedsharipov $8.9K – I have been very high on Zabit since I watched his first fight. His skill set is very unique, and his length makes that skill set more difficult to deal with in the octagon. Zabit will fight behind his jab and will use his kick game from distance. He is at his best on the ground as he works his submissions. His opponent Jeremy Stephens is an experienced knockout artist who presents legit danger in the pocket, so he is a GPP option. I am comfortable with Zabit in cash and GPPs.
- Ben Askren $9K – This fight is going to be a terrible matchup for one of these guys. Askren fight veteran Robbie Lawler in his UFC debut. I like Askren in cash and GPPs here. I expect Askren to be successful with his wrestling takedowns, advances and work some GNP. Lawler presents the dangerous knockout ability also so both guys are GPP viable.
Mid-Tier Leans ($8.5K-$7.7K):
- Cody Garbrandt $8.5K vs Pedro Munhoz $7.7K – This is a very good fight. Cody has been questioned this week and over the past year. Cody has dropped two straight fights to TJ Dillashaw and people are questioning his health. He had a back injury, which forced him to pull out of his first scheduled fight vs TJ. He has not won a fight since the injury and it could be slowing him down. Both guys are legit options in GPPs, and you can consider Munhoz in cash. Munhoz has lost to top guys in the past by decision. Cody is a great play because of his quick hands, and he has knocked down most of his opponents so that 10-point DK knockdown score is enticing.
- Weili Zhang $8.3K vs Tecia Torres $7.9K – This is another great fight by two women who absolutely bring it in the octagon. They are both very powerful. We can see a knockdown/knockout in this fight, not likely, but they are going to exchange. I like both fighters and will be sprinkling them both in GPPs. I am picking Zhang to win because I believe in her power.
Bottom Tier Leans ($7.6K-$6.6K):
- Alejandro Perez $7.6K – This is a GPP play only. Perez has power in his hands. His opponent, Cody Stamann, averages 4.19 takedowns per fight, which could severely limit Perez’s effectiveness on the feet. Perez can get the better of striking exchanges on the feet so he’s worth an underdog play on DraftKings in GPPs.
- Hannah Cifers $7K – Cifers is extremely tough and very strong. She has an intense look on her face, and I expect a better performance from her this time. In her debut, she fought Maycee Barber on very short notice in the altitude of Denver, CO. That is a tall order for Cifer for her UFC debut. I like her as a cash punt or GPP punt. If Viana gets her down to the ground quick it may be an early finish.