LAS VEGAS • Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones cruised to a comfortable unanimous decision victory over Anthony Smith, while Kamaru Usman took Tyrone Woodley's welterweight belt at the UFC 235 event on Saturday.
American Jones had the upper hand in the fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas from start to finish, using an array of kicks to control the distance and out-wrestle Smith, 30, against the fence.
The only scare for the 31-year-old came in the closing seconds of the fourth round when he landed an illegal left knee to the head of Smith, who had one hand on the ground.
The challenger would have been awarded a win by disqualification had the American told the referee he was unable to continue, but decided to fight on, and later revealed he "didn't want to steal it".
Praising Smith for living up to his "Lionheart" moniker, Jones had another nickname for his opponent, calling him "the Terminator".
Nigerian-born Usman dominated the co-main event, backing American Woodley up against the fence and ripping dozens of shots to his body, while taking his opponent to the mat at will.
Known for his tactical acumen in the cage, Woodley could never utilise it as Usman, who became the first African-born UFC champion, won via an unanimous decision.
The much-anticipated UFC debut of former Bellator and One Championship welterweight champion Ben Askren ended in controversy when referee Herb Dean stopped the fight in the first round, judging Robbie Lawler to have lost consciousness in a bulldog choke.
Lawler, himself a former UFC welterweight champion, immediately protested against his submission loss, but it came to no avail, allowing his fellow American to maintain his unbeaten mixed martial arts record.
Post-fight, Askren took at jab at the UFC president, his perceived nemesis, saying: "Hey Dana (White), is that really (the) best you've got?"