This weekends UFC 235 is on paper, the biggest card of the year so far and has the potential to be the best event of the year. To the more casual UFC fans, most cards you’ll find have a great title fight, some interesting main card fights, and a mostly missable prelims card. However, this is the beauty of this card. UFC 235 has something for everyone, whether you’re a first-time watcher of the UFC or a seasoned veteran of the sport’s fan club. But what actually makes this card so interesting I hear you ask? Well, let me break it down for you into 5 simple reasons as to why you NEED to watch UFC 235.
1. The Prelims
The first complaint I often hear from UFC fans is that the prelims are “boring” and have no “interesting fights” on there. UFC 235 has to be the exception to this rule. For starters, you have a great headliner fight between Jeremy Stephens who has 5 Fight of the Night bonuses to his name against Zabit Magomedsharipov who is undefeated in the UFC and boasts an MMA record of 17-1. This matchup has a great clash of styles between the never say die attitude hard hitter of Stephens against the skilled wrestling of Zabit. Elsewhere on the prelims, you have the return of the light heavyweight prospect of Johnny Walker who’s coming of a 15 second knockout of Justin Ledet and Mickey Gall as well as the debut of the undefeated Edmen Shahbazyan who’s longest ever fight is 3 minutes and 16 seconds. 3:16 and has won 50% of all of his fights in under a minute. Don’t blink during that fight. Therefore, these prelims are stacked with fights that could easily be within contention for the performance of the night bonuses and may even steal the show!
2. Stacked Main card
The fun doesn’t stop after the prelims either! The main card is stacked from top to bottom with fights that gives you your PPV money back and then some! We kick off the main card with the return of the former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt against the very dangerous and in no way should be overlooked Pedro Munhoz. Whilst many a fight fan is looking forward to the return of Cody, I am very interested in seeing how Pedro performs under the pressure of being the opening fight on such a huge card. He has a BJJ black belt to his name but boasts three wins via KO. In addition to this, we have an awesome Strawweight battle between Tecia Torres and Weilli Zhang and of course the 3 headliner fights (More on those in a little bit). This shows that unlike a lot of UFC cards, this card is not a top-heavy card with stars across the card from the opening match up to the prelims and is certainly worthy of tuning in not just for the title fights.
3. The debut of Ben Askren
Just before we get to the title fights, we have one more fight that’s arguably as interesting as both main events. We have the official debut of the 18-0 internet darling Ben Askren who’s wrestling ability is becoming notorious amongst fight fans as one that can rival the abilities of Khabib. However, his first fight will be no easy showing as he is facing off against the former welterweight champion and has 20 wins by knockout to his name, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. He boasts an interesting statistic of 69% takedown defense (If you laughed at that, you have a very dirty mind) and so this matchup is not just interesting from an entertainment perspective but also from a stylistic clash as well. It will also be the world’s true introduction to Ben Askren and arguably his hardest fight to date so this fight just adds that extra cherry of intrigue on top of this already tasty cake.
4. Woodley’s Last year at welterweight?
And now, let’s talk about the co-main event between arguably one of the best welterweights of all time, Tyron Woodley who is taking on the Kamaru Usman who is undefeated in the UFC with a 12 fight winning streak. This somewhat heated matchup between these two welterweights is another fight that’s interesting from a stylistic and entertainment standpoint. Both men are well versed in a range of martial arts with Usman being an NCAA Division 2 National Champion in wrestling and holding six wins by knockout whilst Woodley has over 100 college victories in wrestling, a black belt in BJJ and has 7 wins by KO.
This will be Woodley’s 5th title defense and could also be one of his final fights at welterweight with him teasing a move up to middleweight by the end of the year. Will we see another successful defense by Woodley or will we see a new welterweight king in the Nigerian Nightmare? This is another fight you won’t want to miss let alone blink!
5. Jon Jones first defense
Finally, we have the main event! This will be Jon Jones’s first defense back as the Light Heavyweight champion after a, shall we say, shaky few years. Whenever Jon Jones fights, there always seems to be some controversy surrounding it which although isn’t necessarily what you want from a fight week, you can’t deny it adds to the fun of it. Furthermore, no one can argue that Jon Jones is an excellent martial artist and to watch him fight is an event intrinsically exciting. In addition to that, you have him facing off against the very dangerous Anthony Smith. Up to this point, many fans haven’t even heard of Anthony Smith but that is no reason to overlook him. He is a diverse martial artist with 18 wins via KO as well as 11 via submission and holds wins over Rashad Evans and Volkan Oezdemir. Will we see another name added to the list of Jon Jones’s victims? Or, could we possibly see one of the biggest upset victories in UFC history? The only way to find out is to tune in on Saturday night!
UFC 235 goes down on Saturday 2nd March at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card kicks off at 3am GMT for our British readers and at 10pm EST with the prelims starting at 1am GMT and 8pm EST. Keep up to date with all the latest news from the UFC 235 fight week right here at pureevilmma.com or by following me on Instagram at ufc_news_official.