Jon Jones returns to continue his reign as the best light heavyweight and possibly the greatest ever as he puts his throne on the line against ultra-explosive Thiago Santos on Saturday. Also, in the co-main event, the possible women’s GOAT puts her belt on the line against longtime fan favorite, Holly Holm. This all goes down at UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In the main event of the evening, we see Jones defend his LHW belt against former middleweight and rising threat in the LHW division, Santos. Jones has had quite the documented career, as it has been full of many ups and downs.
Despite all of his issues though, Jones has remained active since being eligible to compete, Jones has remained quite active, and of course, staying unbeaten. Throughout his return, Jones has defeated Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith.
For his opponent, Dos Santos has made huge waves since making the jump up to 205. He has defeated Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz. Both wins were impressive, with both of them ending in TKO/KO.
Jones is currently a -600 favorite, with Santos getting +450 odds. The odds obviously are swaying towards Jones defending his title, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The guy is considered the best to do it and is finally becoming active and finding his groove.
Even if you examine Jones at his core, he has some of the highest-level wrestling in the UFC and striking that is beyond what most are able to figure out.
Despite all of this though, Santos will be a huge challenge to the throne of Jones. He packs an immense amount of power, is fast, explosive, and, most of all, has heart. We’ve seen Santos pull himself out of deep waters and fight through to earn the win.
This is important going up against a guy like Jones, who can break you down, round after round. Santos is 2-0 since moving up to LHW.
Is he enough though to be the first man to officially beat Jones? I do not personally see it. Jones is finally able to be active, is getting into his official “primetime,” and has a great skill set to match Santos’s.
Jones can use his MASSIVE 84-inch reach to keep Santos at bay. Also, Jones has an amazing clinch that he can utilize if he finds Thiago closing the distance well. If Santos is too much for Jones to handle on the feet, he can utilize his superior wrestling. From there, Jones has both tremendous ground-and-pound and jiu-jitsu.
Overall, Jones just has too many weapons for Santos to handle in my eyes, and I think we see the current LHW king bring home gold once again. The official prediction here is that Jones submits Santos within three rounds, likely the third.
Other Key Fights
Co-Main Event – Nunes (-345) vs. Holm (+285): I predict Amanda Nunes will TKO Holly Holm in the third round. Although Holm is a decorated striker, her transition into MMA has been a bit overhyped, and Nunes is a killer who is at the best point in her career.
Jorge Masvidal (+215) vs. Ben Askren (-255): I took two things out of Askren’s UFC debut. The guy can take a punch, and his wrestling/grappling is legit. I think Masvidal will give Askren serious trouble on the feet though, but I just see Askren weathering the storm once more and pulling off a submission win.