The primary and co-main events with 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 when he puts his name on the line against knockout artist Thiago Santos.
Jones (24-1, 1 NC) is 18-1, 1 NC from the UFC and in the minds of many observers of the game is the best talent to ever step into the Octagon. Obviously, problems outside of the sport with the law and with USADA have hindered his career, but he’s finally back on a consistent fight schedule and that is a good thing for everybody. Since his No Competition against Daniel Cormier in the summer of 2017, Jones has looked better than everbefore. He won back the vacant title with a brutal knockout win over Alexander Gustafsson in UFC 232 and then defended the belt with a decision over Anthony Smith in UFC 232 just a few weeks ago. Jones has assured the fans that he will fight more often now that his private issues have been cared for, and this bout with Santos will be his third battle in less than eight months.
Santos (21-6) is 13-5 overall in the UFC and is now riding a four-fight win series, including three straight wins since moving up to light heavyweight. Since going up to 205lbs, Santos has knocked out Jimi Manuwa, Eryk Anders and Jan Blachowicz in devastating fashion. He is actually second all-time now behind Vitor Belfort on among the UFC’s all-time best knockout artists. Although he was inconsistent as a middleweight, it seems the move up in weight has helped him attain some strength that can make him a genuine threat in this struggle against Jones.
Even though Santos has a puncher’s chance against Jones, you simply can’t go against the champion. Jones, for his or her troubles, is your best MMA fighter of all time, and he’ll be a heavy favorite here in order to guard his belt.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has already released the launching betting line with 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.
Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes will stick around 135lbs and defend her belt at UFC 239 against leading contender Holly Holm.
Nunes (17-4) is 10-1 overall from the UFC and is now riding an eight-fight win series. After going through each challenger thrown her way 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 woman to knock out Cris Cyborg, getting the featherweight champion in the procedure. In this fight against Holm, she will move down to bantamweight and shield her belt there.
Holm (12-4) is just 5-4 in the UFC, but she’s fought elite rivalry in nearly all of her writings within the Octagon and her album 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 has won just two of her last few bouts including a determination win over Megan Anderson in her final outing. Despite her inconsistencies the past couple of decades, she is still one of the most admired female MMA fighters .
Although Holm is a formidable challenge for Nunes, the UFC’s first women’s double champion deserves to be a sizable favorite heading into this bout.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas also opened the launching betting line with this particular bout too. Nunes opened as a -345 favorite, with Holm that a +275 underdog. Click on the hyperlink to read Kalikas’ rational for the introductory lineup.
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