Jones should win big in Vegas return
March 01, 2019 2:00 PM
by Alan Berg
Hopefully this time, Las Vegas gets to see a Jon Jones fight.
UFC 232 was moved to Anaheim last December due to a very miniscule amount of an anabolic steroid found in Jones system. Now Jones returns to Vegas to defend his newly won UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against heavy underdog Anthony Smith at T-Mobile Arena Saturday.
The best line on Jones -900 is currently at CG Technology the best takeback on Smith is +700 at The SuperBook at Westgate. It’s a matchup of arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time and UFC’s version of Rocky Balboa.
Smith (31-13, 17 KOs, 11 Submissions) got to this moment by destroying faded stars Rashad Evans, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and submitting top contender Volkan Oezdemir. Those wins helped earn Smith a title shot, but it’s more right place, right time. With UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier still waiting on Brock Lesnar, Cormier has no desire to fight Jones a third time and risk leaving a big money Lesnar fight on the table.
Jones (23-1, 10 KOs, six SUBs) wanted to return to the Octagon right away and Smith is the perfect quick turnaround opponent. Smith has a buzz with three straight finishes and there aren’t a lot of strong contenders in the light heavyweight division.
But can Smith win?
Smith has the classic puncher’s chance, but the downside is history makes him a real long shot to win this fight. He has won 14 of 16, but losses to Thiago Santos and Cezar Ferreira in that stretch make it hard to imagine a guy with Smith’s resume beating the G.O.A.T. At this price however, just bet the total. UNDER
UFC Middleweight Championship: Tyron Woodley (-175 at CGT) vs. Kamaru Usman (+165 at William Hill): Woodley and Usman are big time wrestlers, but both have tremendous striking power. Woodley and Usman probably feel like they are fighting their clone. Both fighters could have completely different plans to counteract who they are fighting or they could be identical.
It makes this fight completely fascinating to me. Woodley has cashed quite a few tickets for me, so I am sticking with him. WOODLEY
Robbie Lawler (+235 at WH) vs. Ben Askren (-275 all books): It’s the guy who many people thought would never fight in the UFC vs. one of the biggest brawlers ever. For fans that haven’t heard of Askren, he has been completely dominating the leagues outside of UFC. Askren is a perfect 17-0, while Lawler is a former UFC Champion. Lawler will have to land the bombs away strike and Askren will just have to control his nerves. Askren has been waiting for this moment for a long time and I see him grappling his way to a dominant decision. ASKREN
Cody Garbrandt (-165 WH) vs. Pedro Munoz (+145 WH, SB): Garbrandt was on a tear in the UFC, becoming the featherweight champion defeating Dominick Cruz, but followed it up with two back-to-back knockout losses to T.J. Dillashaw. The UFC has done Garbrandt no favors by giving him up-and-coming Munoz, who has won six of seven fights.
However, Garbrandt still has special power and he’s only lost to Dillashaw. Munoz isn’t Dillashaw nor does he have a big knockout record. I normally don’t bet fighters coming off multiple losses, but at this price, I am game. GARBRANDT
Other plays: Johnny Walker, Zabit Magomedsharipov
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