The primary and co-main events for this summer’s blockbuster UFC International Fight Week card have been revealed. UFC 239 takes place July 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and ESPN has reported that the following bouts.
Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos, UFC 239
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will return to the Octagon at UFC 239 if he puts his title on the line against knockout artist Thiago Santos.
Jones (24-1, 1 NC) is 18-1, 1 NC in the UFC and in the minds of many observers of the game is the best talent to ever step in the Octagon. Obviously, problems outside of the game with all the law and with USADA have hindered his career, but he is finally back on a constant fight schedule and that is a good thing for everybody. Since his No Competition against Daniel Cormier in the summer of 2017, Jones has appeared better than ever. He won back the vacant title with a brutal knockout win over Alexander Gustafsson in UFC 232 after which defended the belt using a decision over Anthony Smith in UFC 232 just a few weeks ago. Jones has promised the fans that he’ll fight more frequently now that his private issues are cared for, and also this bout with Santos will be his third fight in less than eight months.
Santos (21-6) is 13-5 overall from the UFC and is now riding a four-fight win streak, including three consecutive wins since moving up to light heavyweight. Since going around 205lbs, Santos has knocked out Jimi Manuwa, Eryk Anders and Jan Blachowicz in devastating fashion. He’s actually second all-time now behind Vitor Belfort on the list of the UFC’s all-time greatest grossing musicians. Though he was inconsistent as a middleweight, it appears the move up in weight has helped him to gain some durability that could make him a true threat in this fight against Jones.
Even though Santos has a puncher’s chance against Jones, you just can not go against the champion. Jones, for all his troubles, is the greatest MMA fighter of all time, and he will be a heavy favorite here in order to guard his belt.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has released the opening betting line for this bout. Jones started as a -900 favorite, with Santos as a +600 underdog. Click on the link to see Kalikas’ justification for the opening lineup.
UFC 239 vs. Holly Holm, amanda Nunes UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes will stick around 135lbs and shield her belt at UFC 239 against leading competition Holly Holm.
Nunes (17-4) is 10-1 overall from the UFC and is now riding an eight-fight win streak. After going through each challenger thrown her manner at bantamweight, such as Valentina Shevchenko twice, Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington, she moved up to featherweight in her last outing and became the first girl to knock out Cris Cyborg, becoming the featherweight champion in the procedure. In this fight against Holm, she’ll move down to bantamweight and shield her belt .
Holm (12-4) is just 5-4 in the UFC, but she’s fought elite rivalry in most of her bouts inside the Octagon and her record is skewed as a result. Since her shocking upset head kick KO win over Ronda Rousey in late 2015, Holm is only 2-4 in the UFC, but she’s won two of her last few bouts including a determination win over Megan Anderson in her last outing. Despite her inconsistencies the past couple of decades, she’s still among the most admired female MMA fighters .
Though Holm is a formidable challenge for Nunes, the UFC’s first-ever women’s double champion deserves to be a large favorite heading into the bout.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas also opened the opening betting line for this particular bout as well. Nunes started as a -345 favored, with Holm a +275 underdog. Click the hyperlink to see Kalikas’ rational for your introductory lineup.
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