- Jon Jones continued his brilliance by outlasting Thiago Santos, and Amanda Nunes added to her reputation as the best fighter in the world with a win over Holly Holm.
Jon Jones did just enough to defeat Thiago Santos, retaining his Light Heavyweight title in the process, and the dream still remains that there will be a part three to Jones and Heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier.
Certainly this fight would have been different had Santos not injured his left knee in the opening round, but Jones absorbed all sorts of punishment to overcome a valiant effort by Santos. Despite the boos from the crowd, this fight was a very impressive win for Jones.
The Jones victory main-evented UFC 239, which now stands alone as the best MMA card of the year. Amanda Nunes knocked out Holly Holm in the opening round of their Bantamweight title fight to further cement her spot as the greatest female fighter of all-time—and possibly the greatest, period.
UFC 239 also included the quickest knockout in the history of the promotion, as Jorge Masvidal destroyed previously unbeaten Ben Askren in five seconds. Masvidal made history with a flying knee that made the crowd in Vegas simply erupt and immediately put Askren to sleep.
Jan Blachowicz also pieced together his own upset, knocking out Luke Rockhold in the second round of their Light Heavyweight fight with a left hook that will certainly get the attention of division champion Jon Jones. The opening fight went the distance, with Michael Chiesa simply too dominant for Diego Sanchez and winning by unanimous decision.
Ultimately, this card served as a reminder that greatness is hard to attain and even more daunting to overcome. In spite of the threats, Jones and Nunes delivered victories at UFC 239, proving once again why they are two of the greatest fighters to ever step inside the Octagon.
Decision: Jones Outlasts Santos in Fifth Round — 12:53 a.m. ET
Thiago Santos goes the distance with Jon Jones in a championship fight for the Light Heavyweight title.
He came close to dethroning the champ but didn't do enough to win the official decision. He fought valiantly and, incredibly, with a gruesome injury to his left knee.
Jones absorbed all of Santos’ punishment, and never appeared in any sort of any threat. As Jones discussed in his post-fight interview, he came in with a game plan to avoid the knockout punch.
The fight, curiously, never hit the match. Jones is such a phenomenal talent that he can compete against anyone’s strength and continue his reign as the best in the world.
Despite the surprise challenge, the winner—and still—champion is Jon Jones.
Round 4 — 12:38 p.m. ET
Entering the final round, Thiago Santos appears to be fighting on one leg. His left knee is injured, and continues to buckle, and it is legitimate to question whether it can last another five minutes in the cage.
Jones has been stalking Santos the whole fight, and this is the time to go for the finish.
Round 3 — 12:33 a.m. ET
The third round was the most impressive part of the fight thus far for Jon Jones.
Jones is picking Santos apart with elbows and kicks, but he cannot put the challenger away. Santos’ punches haven’t been able to connect with the elusive Jones.
Round 2 — 12:26 a.m. ET
Thiago Santos, round by round, is earning Jon Jones’ respect.
Two rounds into the UFC 239 main event, we have an even fight.
Santos is operating on an injured left leg, but it has yet to slow him down. Jones continues to slide away from Santos’ power punches, and we are still waiting for the next big development in this encounter.
Round 1 — 12:20 a.m. ET
Jon Jones doesn’t want to be the greatest—he wants to be the most dominant.
But that hasn’t been the case just yet. Thiago Santos has focused on Jones’ lower half, especially his calves, which has forced Jones to change his stance. Jones has been incredibly patient, waiting for his chance to attack. We’ll see if that happens in round two.
Pre-Fight — 12:00 a.m. ET
Our main event is next, and Jon Jones has the chance to cap off the most entertaining UFC card of the year.
But even though he is a massive favorite, Jones still has to get past Thiago Santos.
Santos hits like a ton of bricks, and it changes the entire MMA landscape if he defeats Jones. Did Jones take it easy in his last fight against Anthony Smith? Jones, and the UFC, could benefit from a dominating performance.
Decision: Nunes KO's Holm in Opening Round — 11:52 p.m. ET
Holly Holm stung Amanda Nunes with a right hand in the opening round, reminding the champ that she wanted a fight.
But that fight didn’t last long.
Nunes caught Holm with a right high kick, and it was all academic from that point forward. This needed to be a statement win for Nunes to prove that she is the best in the world, and she delivered.
The next question is what happens next for Nunes. She can defend her Featherweight championship, but there is no question that Nunes is the best ever.
Pre-Fight — 11:32 p.m. ET
“The Lioness” is next.
Amanda Nunes needs this victory over Holly Holm to prove she is, without a doubt, the best in the world. But… Nunes has a tendency to get frustrated and leave shots open, which you simply cannot do against Holly Holm.
It’s the best in the world against the woman looking, once again, to shock the world.
Decision: Masvidal Defeats Askren With Record-Setting KO — 11:22 p.m. ET
One of the most unbelievable finishes in the history of the UFC just took place.
Jorge Masvidal backed up all the talk and knocked out previously unbeaten Ben Askren with the fastest knockout in UFC history. Masvidal anticipated Askren dropping down and going for the legs, landing a flying knee that ended the fight in five seconds.
Yes, five seconds.
That victory was more than a statement. It was history.
The next challenger for Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has been decided.
Pre-Fight — 11:16 p.m. ET
Next up: Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren
The winner should decide the next welterweight title contender, placing the winner above Colby Covington.
If there is a better villain in the UFC than Ben Askren, please let me know who it is. He doesn’t look like the typical bad ass, which makes him even more entertaining with that incredible skillset.
Another compelling matchup is about to start.
Decision: Blachowicz KOs Rockhold in Second Round — 11:06 p.m. ET
We have our first massive upset of the night.
Jan Blachowicz delivered a knockout left hook that ends Luke Rockhold’s and represents the biggest victory of his career.
Blachowicz is simply a monster boxer, possibly the best in MMA.
Round 1 — 10:59 p.m. ET
Luke Rockhold’s confidence has always been a key piece in his transformation into an elite fighter. He went right after Jan Blachowicz, immediately looking to put him on the mat, an odd choice since Blachowicz is such a skilled grappler.
As the fight round finished, Blachowicz tagged Rockhold after the bell—but the ruling is that the kick was initiated in time.
Pre-Fight — 10:51 p.m. ET
Rockhold is the favorite, but this fight has upset written all over it.
This fight will also provide some clarity to whether Rockhold still wants to fight. He has been clear that modeling is a legitimate career option. However, Blachowicz isn’t looking for a photo shoot.
A very interesting fight is about to start, one that will show us whether Rockhold is back—or if Blachowicz is ready for a title shot.
Diego Sanchez-Michael Chiesa
Round 3 — 10:41 p.m. ET
Diego Sanchez refused to tap, but despite his defense, Michael Chiesa dominated from start to finish.
Chiesa had Sanchez flattened out on a few different occasions and was able to get a takedown seemingly at will. Sanchez’s resiliency and heart will never be questioned, nor will the decision: Chiesa wins unanimously.
That victory should propel Chiesa into the top 10 welterweights.
Round 2 — 10:33 p.m. ET
Chiesa has completely dominated the ground. The crowd is behind Sanchez, looking for a comeback to kick off the main card, but Chiesa is in full control.
Two rounds in, Chiesa is making it look effortless.
Round 1 — 10:27 p.m. ET
Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, Paul Felder are the broadcast team, and tonight’s main fight card opens with Diego Sanchez against Michael Chiesa.
WWE star Daniel Bryan is a passionate Sanchez fan.
In a 2015 interview with Sports Illustrated, Bryan shared, “The “Yes!” chant just started from me trying to be annoying. One of my favorite UFC fighters is a guy by the name of Diego Sanchez. He’s awesome. He exemplifies a lot of characteristics that I think of as having myself. In his last fight he had talked to the announcer, and they asked him, ‘What are the three most important attributes to your success?’ And he said, ‘Legs, lungs, heart.’ And nowhere in there did he say athletic ability. It’s how hard he trains, how hard he works, and just the fact he never gives up. He’s a really inspirational fighter. Anyway, when he would come to the cage, he would just come and pound his fight and say, ‘Yes! Yes!’ And I saw that and thought, that’s borderline annoying. I like it because I’m a big Diego Sanchez fan, but I thought, ‘Oh man, that will get people annoyed.’ So I started ‘Yes!’ to get people riled up, and the ‘No!’ came organically from everybody saying ‘Yes!’ and me growing sick of it. Like, ‘You’re not really cheering for me! No!’ Then it came into being that I transitioned back to ‘Yes!,’ and it’s kind of cool how people like both of them.”
Despite the support from Bryan, the fight has been a disaster for Sanchez. Chiesa has simply overpowered Sanchez, and we have appeared on the cusp of a tap out on a couple different occasions in the opening right. One round in, and the full advantage goes to Chiesa.
The main fight card for UFC 239 is about to get underway, and this night is all greatness in the Octagon.
Jon Jones looks to continue his brilliance by annihilating Thiago Santos, and Amanda Nunes can add to her reputation as the best fighter in the world with a win over Holly Holm.
Holm is best known for her demolition of Ronda Rousey in 2015, but Nunes will be quick to remind her tonight that the landscape has changed dramatically in 2019.
The preliminary card featured 21-year-old Edmen Shahbazyan making quick work of an extremely tough fighter in Jack Marshman. Shahbazyan is represented by Ronda Rousey, and he could very well be the next big thing for the UFC—and the connection to Rousey only enhances his brand.
Follow along tonight as we see if Nunes continues her dominance, whether Jones challenges Daniel Cormier after his win, if Luke Rockhold gets upset (this reporter believes he will), and more.