UFC 235 is one of those MMA cards that you simply can’t miss if you love the sport. There are a lot of clear favorites, but the names scheduled to be in action make this one of the premier MMA events so far this year.
Here’s how you can watch.
- Date: Saturday, March 2
- Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
- Times: Early Prelims at 6:30 pm, Mid-Level Prelims at 8 pm and Main Card at 10 pm ET
- TV: Mid-Level on ESPN and Main Card on PPV
- Live Stream: Early Prelims on UFC Fight Pass, Mid-Level Prelims on ESPN app, Main Card can be ordered on UFC.com, Amazon, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Arguably the greatest fighter in the history of the sport, Jon “Bones” Jones will defend his UFC light heavyweight title against the surging Anthony “Lionheart” Smith. Jones returned from suspension to defeat Alexander Gustafsson via TKO in a highly anticipated rematch in December. The victory landed Jones his third reign as world champion, though the second was technically wiped away because of a failed drug test.
Now that he’s back and seemingly focused on getting the most out of his career, every time Jones steps into the Octagon it’s a treat for fans of martial arts excellence. Smith has earned this title shot, but he comes in a massive underdog. If he were to defeat Jones, it would be one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.
That said, he’s strong, rugged, determined and confident. The fight should be interesting while it lasts.
In the co-main event, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley looks for his fourth consecutive title defense against Kamaru Usman. Woodley hasn’t lost a fight in almost five years and he seems to be getting better, despite being 36 years old.
Usman is an athletic wrestler who could potentially give the champ some issues. It’ll be a tactical battle that hardcore fans of the sport can appreciate, but might draw some boos.
Don’t Sleep On Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov
Johnny Walker might be the next major star in the light heavyweight division, though Dominick Reyes will have something to say about that. Walker stepped in on short notice to face the once-streaking Misha Cirkunov in an important battle in the 205-pound division.
Walker is huge for the weight class and extremely athletic. He’s the kind of physical presence that would appear to be an interesting opponent for Jones down the line. However, he can’t look past Cirkunov who is looking to continue to rebuild himself after back-to-back losses in 2017.
Cirkunov bounced back with a win over Patrick Cummins in October 2018, and now he’d like to extend his winning ways to the tune of a two-fight win streak.
What Else Will Be On?
Combat sports fan with a budget and appetite for the UFC will likely be ready to tune in on Saturday. The only other combat sports programming that runs through any part of UFC 235 is a rather nondescript Showtime card featuring Erislandy Lara facing Brian Castano.
Aside from combat sports, there is a primetime NBA matchup that sees the Golden State Warriors head east to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. That’s an attractive game, but none of it should prevent ESPN from doing solid numbers with the prelims, or the UFC/ESPN from generating solid PPV buyrates.