In a fight that featured an insane amount of violence, drama, suspense, heart and controversy packed into just over three minutes of action, Askren survived almost being stopped to submit former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler on Saturday at UFC 235 in Las Vegas.
For all his flaws and maddening missteps, Jon Jones inexorably remains the preeminent talent in mixed martial arts.
Jones was on the way to an easy victory when he landed an illegal knee to Smith's head near the end of the fourth round. Some days you are going to look incredible, and some days you're not going to perform at the level you want to.
Jones vs Smith will be one of the premier events by UFC in this year. The ATT fighter won the interim title last summer, but he passed on facing Woodley last September, due to pending nasal surgery.
Q. How's your preparation heading into your fight with Anthony Smith - Do you have a specific plan?
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"They know I'm the real world champ", he said. I mean, once you beat DC twice what does a man like Anthony Smith have for you?
Woodley, looking to defend his UFC welterweight title for the fifth consecutive time, hit his mark at 170 pounds. Usman celebrated in the cage with his daughter before his hand was raised in victory. He was born in Nigeria and moved to the US when he was 8.
Robbie Lawler makes his much-anticipated return to the octagon since tearing his ACL against Rafael Dos Anjos in 2017.
"Can't nobody handle me", Usman said. Dean showed restraint in not instantly waving the fight off as Askren scrambled to cover up.
In the last main event, Israel Adensanya (16-0-0) raised the motherland's name proudly as he got the "W" over arguably the best MMA athlete the world has seen yet after beating Brazil's Anderson Silva (34-9-0) down in Australia.
"But when it comes to mixing it up, I'm the best welterweight on the planet right now". Usman is going to be a very tough test for Woodley.
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"Kamaru came out and brought it", Woodley said. I really do, or I wouldn't be here. I'm not backing down. "I was mostly surprised at how quickly he got me up and down". I can't be in a room with that guy. With him already having won the welterweight gold, Usman's thoughts drifted toward his fellow countrymen capturing UFC gold as well. With over a year out injured, he faces a hard matchup against former Bellator and ONE fighter Ben Askren.
"Where are you at Dana?" UFC 235 started out hot and then kind of sputtered to the finish line.
Conor McGregor did it first, but Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and T.J. Dillashaw have all followed suit. It was a fun moment for the Albuquerque, New Mexico crew.
Covington nearly had a fight booked with Woodley for UFC 228, however he suffered a nasal injury and was unable to go through with the bout. He had lost his two previous fights to quality opposition in Glover Teixeira and Volkan (No Time) Oezdemir.
The six-foot-six Walker was three inches taller and had a five-inch reach advantage over the Canadian.
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