UFC 239: Jones vs Santos - Odds and Predictions

How to Watch

Where: T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV.

When: Saturday, July 6, 10PM EST

How (TV): ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass

(C) Jon Jones (24-1-1) vs Thiago Santos (21-6) – Light heavyweight division

In what is sure to be the biggest mismatch of the evening (at least in the eyes of the oddsmakers), light heavyweight champion Jon Jones takes on another large underdog opponent in the main event of UFC 239. But Jones’ opponent, Thiago Santos, is dead set on not being overlooked, having won his last four fights in a row – three out of four by knock out.

Since his no-contest with Daniel Cormier (due to a failed drug test) in 2017, champion Jon Jones, 31, has returned to the UFC to go 2-0 and regain his light heavyweight championship. Jones reclaimed his title on December 29, 2018 in a dominant performance over Alexander Gustafsson and defended his belt in his last fight against Anthony Smith on March 2 of this year, where he won by unanimous decision.

”Bones” will have the advantage in both height and reach. Jones stands at 6 feet, 4 inches and possesses the UFC’s longest reach of any fighter at 84.5 inches. He fights out of Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Jackson-Wink Academy. Jones has a black belt in gaidojutsu under coach Greg Jackson and a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Roberto Alencar. He is a two-time UFC light heavyweight champion and the lone loss on his record was a disqualification loss due to throwing illegal elbows on his opponent.

Thiago Santos, 35, made his move up from middleweight to light heavyweight back on September 22, 2018. In that fight, he TKO’d Eryk Anders in the third round of their main event. Following that, Santos knocked out Jimi Manuwa in December 2018. Santos last fought against Jan Blachowicz on February 23. He knocked Blachowicz out in the third round. All three of Santos’ light heavyweight bouts have earned him performance of the night bonuses.

”Marreta” (meaning sledgehammer) stands at 6 feet, 2 inches tall. He has a 76 inch reach. Santos fights out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and comes stateside to train with American Top Team. He is a muay thai fighter who possesses a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a green rope in Capoeira. He has been active in MMA since 2010 and this will be his first UFC title shot. He is currently ranked number two in the light heavyweight division.

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(C) Amanda Nunes (17-4) vs Holly Holm (12-4) – Women’s bantamweight division

The only two women to defeat MMA legend Ronda Rousey will now go head-to-head for the first time and it will be for the women’s bantamweight title. Dual-division champion Amanda Nunes will put her belt on the line against the woman who shocked the world and handed Rousey her first professional loss – former champion, Holly Holm.

Amanda Nunes, 31, is currently riding an either-fight winning streak. She captured her bantamweight title from Meisha Tate at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016. She then defended against Ronda Rousey, TKO-ing the former champ within the first minute of their fight. Nunes also has two decision victories over the current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes’ last fight was on December 29, 2018 at UFC 232 where she fought Cris Cyborg for Cyborg’s featherweight title. Nunes shocked the world once again by knocking Cyborg out in the first round, becoming the first female double-champion.

”The Lioness” stands at 5 feet, 8 inches tall and has a reach of 69 inches. She is a southpaw that trains out of Brazil and works with both the AMA Fight Club and American Top Team. Nunes has a brown belt in judo and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She is ranked as the number six pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.

Holly Holm, 37, got back to her winning ways in her last fight. She fought Megan Anderson on June 9, 2018 at UFC 225. She defeated Anderson by unanimous decision. Holm had been on somewhat of a rough stretch prior to that. She won the bantamweight title in 2015 but then dropped her next three fights in a row. She recovered with a KO victory over Bethe Correia but then lost a unanimous decision to Cris Cyborg in late 2017.

”The Preacher’s Daughter” also stands at 5 feet, 8 inches tall and will have only the slightest edge in the reach department – measuring at 70 inches. Like Jon Jones, Holm also fights out of Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Jackson-Wink Academy. She has been active in MMA since 2011 and has a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Prior to MMA, Holm was a professional boxer with a record of 33-2-3. She is ranked as the number one bantamweight contender behind only Amanda Nunes.

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Jorge Masvidal (33-13) vs Ben Askren (19-0-1) – Welterweight division

Both fighters in this bout seem poised for a hard-fought battle as neither has been shy about talking trash about the other. Respectively ranked within one of each other, some believe the winner of this fight could be next in line for a chance at welterweight champion Kamaru Usman’s title.

Jorge Masvidal, 34, had been inactive since 2017 before stepping back into the octagon against Darren Till on March 16 earlier this year. In that fight, which took place in Till’s home country of England, Masvidal knocked out his opponent in emphatic fashion in the second round, earning him a performance of the night bonus. Prior to that, Masvidal had lost his two fights in 2017 against former title challengers Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia.

”Gamebred” stands at 5 feet, 11 inches tall and has a reach of 74 inches. Masvidal fights out of Miami, Florida and trains with the American Top Team gym. He has been active in MMA since 2003, is 1-0 as a professional boxer, and 1-0 as a professional kickboxer. He is officially ranked at number four in the UFC welterweight division.

Ben Askren, also 34, made his UFC debut on March second at UFC 235. There he fought, and submitted, former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. Prior to that, Askren had been retired from MMA after years spent with ONE Championship, unable to move to the UFC due to his contract. All that changed when the UFC dealt Demetrious Johnson to ONE in a groundbreaking promotional trade. Askren is a former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion.

”Funky” stands one inch shorter than his opponent at 5 feet, 10 inches. His reach is 72 inches – giving him a two inch disadvantage in that department as well. He trains out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and works with Roufusport gym where he trains with former champion Tyron Woodley. Although known for his NCAA division I and Olympic wrestling pedigree, Askren also has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Marcelo Garcia. He is currently ranked at number five in the division by the UFC.

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Jan Blachowicz (23-8) vs Luke Rockhold (16-4) – Light heavyweight division

Jan Blachowicz, 36, will have the task Saturday night of welcoming former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold up a weight class to the light heavyweight division. Blachowicz last fought on February 23 against this card’s main event challenger Thiago Santos. Blachowicz was defeated via third round TKO. Prior to that, Blachowicz had won four fights in a row – a run that included victories over the likes of Nikita Krylov, Jimi Manuwa, Jared Cannonier, and Devin Clark.

The “Prince of Cieszyn” stands at 6 feet, 2 inches tall and has a reach of 78 inches. He fights out of Warszawa, Poland with the Berkut WCA Fight Team. Blachowicz has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and an undefeated professional kickboxing record of 34-0. He is currently ranked at number six in the UFC light heavyweight division.

Luke Rockhold, 34, will make his light heavyweight debut after more than a year of inactivity due to injury and recovery. The former middleweight champion last fought on February 10, 2018 against Yoel Romero and lost via third-round TKO. He is 2-2 in his last four fights and claims that the weight cut to 185-pounds became too unbearable.

An American fighter, Luke Rockhold stands at 6 feet, 3 inches tall – one inch taller than his opponent. He will have a one inch disadvantage in the reach department however. Rockhold fights out of San Jose, California with the popular American Kickboxing Academy – a gym that has produced other notable champions such as Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Cain Velasquez. Rockhold has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Leandro Vieira and Dave Camarillo. He left the middleweight division while still ranked at number three.

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Diego Sanchez (29-11) vs Michael Chiesa (15-4) – Welterweight division

Diego Sanchez, 37, has been on somewhat of a career resurgence since returning to the welterweight division. He lost his return fight against Matt Brown but has gone on to win his last two fights in a row. In his last fight, Sanchez earned a TKO victory over up-and-comer Mickey Gall at UFC 235 on March 2 of this year.

”The Nightmare” stands at 5 feet, 10 inches tall and has a reach of 72 inches. He has fought as high as middleweight and as low as featherweight. Sanchez trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico with the popular Jackson-Wink Academy. The southpaw has a black belt in gaidojutsu as well as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Roberto Tussa. He is currently unranked in the welterweight division.

Micheal Chiesa, 31, last fought at UFC 232 on December 29, 2018. Chiesa fought a returning Carlos Condit in what would be Chiesa’s debut at welterweight. He defeated Condit, a former champion, via kimura submission in the second round. Prior to that, Chiesa had lost two fights in a row – a lightweight fight against Kevin Lee and a catchweight fight against Anthony Pettis in which Chiesa had missed weight, thus prompting his move to the welterweight division.

”Maverick” stands at 6 feet, 1 inch tall – giving him a height advantage over Sanchez of three inches. His 75.5 inch reach also gives him an advantage of 3.5 inches. The grappler currently fights out of Spokane Valley, Washington and has been affiliated with Team Alpha Male and Sik Jitsu Fighting Systems gyms. He has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under James Weed. Chiesa is not yet ranked in the UFC welterweight division.

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