Two title fights go down from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas tonight for UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos. The card is headlined by one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, Jon Jones, as he will defend his UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship against a ferocious knockout artist in Thiago Santos. The greatest female mixed martial artist of all-time will defend her UFC Women’s Bantamweight title as Amanda Nunes takes on former champion and the first women to defeat Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm. The pay-per-view portion is stacked with fights such as Ben Askren versus Jorge Masvidal and the return of Luke Rockhold vs. Jan Blachowicz. Here is my preview of these notable fights tonight and my predictions for each.
Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos – UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship
Santos is the most terrifying knockout artist in the division right now. As with his previous opponents, he will go after Jones as soon as the referee begins the fight. Santos will have to do everything in his power to tag Jones before he gasses out. The only route to beat Jones now is to make the fight as ugly as possible because fighters have no shot in a technical chess match. If this fight goes past the second round, Jones will put on another masterful performance.
Prediction: Jones via submission – 4th round
Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm – UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
Amanda Nunes can solidify her legacy as not only the greatest female mixed martial artists of all-time but be on the same level as a Jon Jones or Anderson Silva if she can earn a finish over Holly Holm. Nunes has first-round knockout wins over Rousey and Cyborg and has a second-round submission win over Miesha Tate. Holm has the tools to end Nunes’ legendary run. She proved against Cyborg that she can eat heavy shots and go the full five rounds. Holm may not have the power behind her punches that Nunes’ has but her kicks could serve as the ex-factor if she is going to pull out another shocking victory. At the end of the day, Nunes is too dominant and too powerful to lose to anyone.
Prediction: Nunes via TKO – 3rd round
Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren
A pivotal welterweight tilt sees one of these men at the front of securing a title shot against current champion, Kamaru Usman. Masvidal gained momentum after a huge knockout victory over Darren Till and will look to do the same against another trash talker in Askren. Askren pulled out a controversial submission victory over Robbie Lawler back at UFC 235 in March. While we have not seen the full potential of Askren’s ground game, we know he can recover from serious damage.
Prediction: Askren via submission – 2nd round
Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold
Luke Rockhold has only fought three times in the last three years but has grown into one of the most loathsome fighters in the UFC. This is his first fight since being brutally knocked out by Yoel Romero early in 2018. He steps up to light-heavyweight in hopes that he can make up for his teammate, Daniel Cormier’s shortcomings against Jon Jones. Blachowicz has had an up-and-down career in the UFC but now sees himself one win away from a title shot. If he can close the distance and get Rockhold on the ground, he has a serious shot of upsetting Rockhold. However, I see this fight staying on the feet with Rockhold taking advantage.
Prediction: Rockhold via decision
Rest of the card:
Sanchez(TKO), Allen(DEC), Vera(TKO), Gadelha(SUB), Pérez(DEC), Shahbazyan(KO), Naurdiev(DEC), Kianzad(DEC)