The UFC has had a pretty decent 2019 so far, with the new ESPN TV-deal fully underway, new fighters lifting titles and of course Jon Jones being more active. Which can only be a good thing!
The octagon opens it doors to the weekend dubbed ‘International Fight Week’ with fans invited to the open workouts, weigh-ins as well as a fun-fan experience with plenty of activities in the hype for the summer return to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Fans will be spending their cash in Sin City, and looking forward to five excellent main-card match-ups on Saturday night inside the T-Mobile Arena.
A battle of Brazil v America will be contested with two belts on the line in the two title fights on the night!
Jon Jones v Thiago Santos-Jones to win by decision
The main-event Light-Heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos will head-line UFC239. With Jon ‘Bones’ Jones looking to extend his second reign as champ, and to cement his name as the ‘pound for pound’ best mixed martial artist of all time.
The question many have asked in the past, can anyone defeat Jones?
Well, Thiago ‘Marrieta’ Santos which translates into English as ‘The Sledgehammer’ perfectly describes the opponents fight style. And the threat Jones will face…
The Brazilian-Santos recently moved up to 205-pounds and is on a scary four-fight winning streak. Knocking out his opponents is certainly a specialty, and something he has done in his past three bouts. The question is can he do the same to Jones?
It surely is a tough ask, with Jones’ ability to feel out his opponents for the first round and then use their weapons against them. A 24-unbeaten career shows the class the 31-year old possesses, and how many have failed to put a blemish on his record.
Thiago Santos certainly has the damaging power, but does he have the patience? While Jones is probably the most well-rounded and arguably best fight in the world right now. ‘Bones’ will use his excellent kicks to keep range, elbows in the clinch game and overall excellent fighting IQ.
I see Jones stopping Santos’ punching power and point-scoring throughout the fight.
Amanda Nunes v Holly Holm-Nunes to win by KO
The co-main pips the women’s Bantamweight title on the line. Current champion Amanda Nunes invites title challenger and former 135-pound champion Holly Holm to the famous octagon.
Amanda Nunes won the 145-pound title to become the first woman in the sport to hold two titles at the same time, by defeated the unbeaten Cris Cyborg in the first round. She will go back down to defend her 135-pound title for the fifth time!
Valentina Shevchenko, Meisha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Raquel Pennington and Cris Cyborg are names who have all fallen to the champ previously.
Holly Holm will look to do the impossible, again. The former Bantamweight champion was the first woman to defeat once-feared Ronda Rousey, can she do the same this weekend?
This will be a tough fight, a war and a tough one to call. The kickboxing of Holm will be something to pose a threat and a different style for Nunes to get to grips with, than she has previously faced. As the more aggressive boxer she will need to use her jab and pick her shots, something that may be difficult against the long-range of Holm.
Expect the championship experience of Nunes to have her just ahead, and to catch Holm when she figures out the timing.
Jorge Masvidal v Ben Askren-Askren decision
In a Welterweight contest, newly-signed Ben Askren wants to continue to prove the doubters wrong and show his championship pedigree and why he held two titles in two different organisations.
After over a year on the sidelines, Masvidal is coming off an excellent knockout victory over Liverpool’s Darren Till in March. This added to the hype of the fighter, who proves that he is once again a top contender in the division.
These two men are not very fond of each-other. Askren with the wrestling ability to wear his opponents down and Masvidal the striking and cardio to make this one an interesting match-up. This is the definition of a clash of styles fight, anything can really happen…
Can ‘Funky Ben’ continue his 19-0 streak? Or will Masvidal shut the lights out on the All-American Wrestler?
I can see Askren using his strength, excellent takedowns and nullifying defense to halt Masvidal’s game-plan. It won’t be easy, but being the bigger man and ability to take a punch should just about edge it for the unbeaten Askren to is a tried and tested veteran.
Other interesting fights on the card:
Luke Rochold v Jan Blachowicz-Rochhold by TKO/KO
Diego Sanchez v Michael Chiesa-Sanchez by TKO/KO
Claudia Gadelha v Randa Markos-Gahelda by decision