UFC 239 Full Fight : The biggest stars at UFC 239 will work out in front of the media and the fans Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas. Jon Jones, the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, is a big betting favorite vs. Thiago Santos, and there’s a good reason for that.
He won his title last December with a third-round TKO of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 and then defended it with a dominant decision versus Anthony Smith in UFC 235. Now, Jones faces Santos in Saturday’s main event of UFC 239 in a fight you can live stream on ESPN+, and it could be one heck of a showdown.
Santos, though, has reason to hope. He’s won three-straight by knockout, and it seems possible he could catch Jones (24-1) by surprise (especially considering Jones has talked about feeling concerned about being “too comfortable”). If Santos (21-6) is mentally strong enough to be aggressive and pressure Jones, there’s a chance he could have success.
The 36-year-old from Poland met up with Santos at UFC Prague in February. There, Santos handed Blachowicz a third-round TKO loss, and punched his ticket to the Jones fight.You wouldn’t think a fighter would turn around and root for the person who just defeated him, but there’s a method to Blachowicz’s madness. The same night Jones and Santos tangle at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Blachowicz takes on former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.
And the way Blachowicz (23-8 MMA, 6-5 UFC) sees it, a Santos victory would shake things up in a 205-pound weight class where things have gotten a little too predictable.“I think Santos brings good energy,” Blachowicz told MMA Junkie during Monday’s UFC 239 media day in downtown Los Angeles. “I think the division could use someone new. Some new blood. Let’s see what he can do.”
And then there’s the way Blachowicz envisions the night going for himself. His loss to Santos snapped a four-fight win streak, which is the closest he’d come to reaching the top of the light heavyweight ranks in a UFC stint which dates back to 2014.
A victory over a big name in Rockhold under the big spotlight of International Fight Week would give Blachowicz five wins in six outings, and a subsequent Santos win over Jones could set him up for a rematch.
“This could be the fight that puts me in position to get what I want,” Blachowicz said. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about Rockhold (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC), he’s been a gentleman to me. But I know if I have a good fight, if I beat him, then this is the fight that gets me to where I want to be.”
Elsewhere on the card, two-division UFC champ Amanda Nunes—the conqueror of Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, and Miesha Tate—will face Holly Holm, and if Nunes defends her bantamweight title, she could make a legitimate claim that she’s the best women’s UFC fighter in history. Meanwhile, the undefeated Ben Askren will face the tough Jorge Masvidal, who said he wanted to “torture him for 14 minutes and 50 seconds before I stop him.”