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UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos (7/6/2019) - Las Vegas, NV (T-Mobile Arena)

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UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos 
July 6, 2019
Las Vegas, NV (T-Mobile Arena)

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones © (205) vs. Thiago Santos (204.5) (second defense) - Jones, DEC (split)
UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship: Amanda Nunes © (135) vs. Holly Holm (133.5) (fourth defense) - Nunes, TKO (strikes), R1 (4:10)
Jorge Masvidal (170.5) vs. Ben Askren (171) - Masvidal, KO (flying knee), R1 (0:05)
Jan Błachowicz (205.5) vs. Luke Rockhold (204.5) - Błachowicz, KO (punches), R2 (1:39)
Diego Sanchez (169) vs. Michael Chiesa (170.5) - Chiesa, DEC (unanimous)

ESPN Preliminary Card:
Gilbert Melendez (145.5) vs. Arnold Allen (145.5) - Allen, DEC (unanimous)
Marlon Vera (136) vs. Nohelin Hernandez (136) - Vera, SUB (rear naked choke), R2 (3:25)
Cláudia Gadelha (115) vs. Randa Markos (116) - Gadelha, DEC (unanimous)
Alejandro Pérez (135.5) vs. Song Yadong (135.5) - Yadong, KO (punch), R1 (2:04)

Fight Pass Preliminary Card:
Edmen Shahbazyan (185) vs. Jack Marshman (185) - Shahbazyan, SUB (rear naked choke), R1 (1:12)
Ismail Naurdiev (171) vs. Chance Rencountre (170.5) - Recountre, DEC (unanimous)
Julia Avila (135) vs. Pannie Kianzad (135) - Avila, DEC (unanimous)

Event Bonuses ($50,000)
Performance of the Night: Song Yadong
Performance of the NightJan Błachowicz
Performance of the Night: Jorge Masvidal
Performance of the Night: Amanda Nunes

Attendance: 18,358
Gate: $6.06 million
Buyrate:

Cancelled Bouts:
Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos - Bout Moved to Another Card
Sean O'Malley vs. Marlon Vera - O'Malley Under Suspension Due to Flagged Drug Tests
Melissa Gatto vs. Julia Avila - Injury to Gatto

Edited by Elsalvajeloco

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The only thing giving me hope is that Jones will sometimes be a willing fighter in a telephone booth contests or will take some of his opponent's better shots to demoralize them when he doesn't flinch. Santos has fight ending power, so all it takes is one strike. But, yeah, Jones in the third after he thoroughly beats an exhausted Marreta.

Oh, and yay for Song Yadong on this card. Guy has loads of potential.

Edited by Oyaji

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Poor, poor Holly Holm...  It will be a sad day in New Mexico on the 7th.

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16 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

The only thing giving me hope is that Jones will sometimes be a willing fighter in a telephone booth contests or will take some of his opponent's better shots to demoralize them when he doesn't flinch. Santos has fight ending power, so all it takes is one strike. But, yeah, Jones in the third after he thoroughly beats an exhausted Marreta.

Oh, and yay for Song Yadong on this card. Guy has loads of potential.

My thing with Marreta is he throws everything with such ferocity, you can't ever see this guy going five rounds. The problem is if he steps back and chooses to wait on Jon so he can land the perfect counter, Jon is just going to take over the fight. I remember going into UFC 135 because Rampage was one of my favorite fighters, I thought "well, he does have the perfect puncher's chance because Jon's chin has not been tested and Rampage is good at closing the distance". Then when the fight took place, it's like they were fighting at two different speeds. It wasn't because Rampage was past his prime. Jon just made him look average at best. Rashad beat Rampage just on the "I need three good takedowns" which was basically Chael's gameplan against Anderson in their first fight which worked until fate intervened and blessed us with one of the top 5 most memorable UFC finishes. Jon completely neutralizes his opponents in a fashion you rarely see. GSP did it in the Koscheck fight by busting him up bad with the jab, however, you knew what you're going to get most of the time with GSP from Serra II on. He was going to mix up wrestling with boxing and kicks. It was simple which made it tougher when he got older because folks were going to catch Georges on the way down physically as they made their ascent to their own physical prime. You can't tell if Jon is in his physical prime PEDs or no PEDs because he doesn't over exert himself at all. I think the closest was the second fight with DC. That fight was so intense from the outset that neither guy was in control. I thought Jon better get this shit under control because this isn't his type of fight. Then, he fakes low, DC bites on it, and Jon goes high. Done deal. The only way Marreta can have a chance is to trick Jon into going at that same pace. But if you're Jon Jones and his camp, why the fuck would you do that? He can take Marreta down and beat the tar out of him or submit him. For every little way you can conceive of Marreta winning like a lucky spinning backfist or a head kick out of nowhere, you can come up with 10 ways Jon can just put a cigarette out on that bullshit.

13 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Poor, poor Holly Holm...  It will be a sad day in New Mexico on the 7th.

I see Holly winning this one, and I've made my case in months past. I think style wise, Holly is a bad matchup for Amanda. Maybe I'm wrong at the end, but it's a much different matchup than someone who is just going to run headlong at Amanda. Holly is basically the original Valentina Shevchenko, and we saw how Amanda has done in two fights with Valentina. I thought it was interesting that Amanda made a somewhat defeatist comment at the LA presser/media day last week. She basically outright said she knows she has to wait on a chance to land something on Holly meaning Amanda knows she is going to have limited opportunities to land something on Holly. Holly Holm doesn't walk straight into the woodchipper. That's never been her style. If Amanda's strategy is to wait on Holly, then she is going to lose five rounds eating nothing but body kicks and straight left hands. And if Amanda is over aggressive, she is going to get her head kicked into the seventh row worse than Jessica Eye did last month. Amanda has to go to a takedown oriented gameplan. If she just waits for it to turn into a slugfest, she will get outpointed thoroughly. I think with Valentina in the fight at 215, Amanda had the size advantage and also Valentina trying to fight as conservative as possible and pray the judges made the "right" call. Holly is big and super strong her damn self. It's going to be tough getting those takedowns and keeping Holly down, but that's her best possible strategy imo.

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I can see the argument that Holly's style is a good counter for Nunes's, but Valentina is better at it that Holly is and still couldn't quite get it done against Amanda. I think it'll likely go to decision but I think it'll be a comfortable 4 rounds to one in all likelihood.

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1 hour ago, username said:

I can see the argument that Holly's style is a good counter for Nunes's, but Valentina is better at it that Holly is and still couldn't quite get it done against Amanda. I think it'll likely go to decision but I think it'll be a comfortable 4 rounds to one in all likelihood.

I would not say Valentina is better at Holly's style than she is because Valentina can be diverse when she wants to and Holly hardly deviates from what she does. It showed when they fought each other and I even brought that up back then especially in that Holly hadn't faced someone who was going to be quicker on the draw than she is who can mirror what she does. However, looking at that first round of Holm-Shevchenko, Holly treated her like a much smaller fighter and won that first round. Where Holly fell off a cliff in that fight is she refused to go away from that when it stopped working. It's been so successful especially since Holly has the strength and power to stop takedowns. She felt confident she can just rise to the occasion, but she just missed a whole bunch because Valentina's movement made her a hard target to find. So if anything, Valentina found better success going away from what Holly does best which is nothing but kicks and counter left hands. I think the issue with Valentina in her fights with Amanda is the size disparity and inexperience on that level was too much to overcome in the first fight and in the second fight, she fought to just steal rounds. She was one point from being champion in a fight where nothing big happened. For all of Holm's faults, her MO is not to steal rounds. Plus, being bigger than Valentina is going to help her against Amanda. If Amanda struggled to land appreciable offense against Valentina (she landed something like 18% of her significant head strikes against Valentina in the rematch), I see the same happening against Holly. Against Miesha Tate who came to the cage wanting to be anywhere but there, against Ronda Rousey who came out with the worst strategy humanly possible, against Raquel Pennington who put up perhaps the worst performance in UFC title history in recent years, and against Cris Cyborg who is nothing but straight forward, Amanda Nunes can be the Terminator. Against someone who is going to give her movement and not stand flat footed, she is going to struggle. If you remember, when she fought GdR, she didn't even fuck around with trying to stand up with her. She took it straight to the ground ASAP. Fortunately for her, that was when de Randamie had no semblance of defensive wrestling ability and no stable training situation. Since then, Amanda has had the pick of the litter as far as matchups sans the Zingano fight where she literally got snap suplexed after gassing bad. No fault of her own and she won those fights as she should have. In the two fights against the same undersized opponent she had where the opponent just didn't sit in front of her waiting to get blasted, she didn't look impressive at all. Based on her comment at the media day, she is fully aware this isn't going to be a sub ninety second demolition job. It's hard for me to see how she gets it done w/o implementing takedowns unless Holly Holm just stares at her for 5 rounds in a stinker. And the last time I thought Holly Holm was going to be in a stinker of a title fight (then my belief her only way to win), she beat Ronda Rousey all across the cage to the point it looked like Ronda was doing some bizarre interpretative dance.

Edited by Elsalvajeloco

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5 hours ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

I would not say Valentina is better at Holly's style than she is because Valentina can be diverse when she wants to and Holly hardly deviates from what she does. It showed when they fought each other and I even brought that up back then especially in that Holly hadn't faced someone who was going to be quicker on the draw than she is who can mirror what she does. However, looking at that first round of Holm-Shevchenko, Holly treated her like a much smaller fighter and won that first round. Where Holly fell off a cliff in that fight is she refused to go away from that when it stopped working. It's been so successful especially since Holly has the strength and power to stop takedowns. She felt confident she can just rise to the occasion, but she just missed a whole bunch because Valentina's movement made her a hard target to find. So if anything, Valentina found better success going away from what Holly does best which is nothing but kicks and counter left hands. I think the issue with Valentina in her fights with Amanda is the size disparity and inexperience on that level was too much to overcome in the first fight and in the second fight, she fought to just steal rounds. She was one point from being champion in a fight where nothing big happened. For all of Holm's faults, her MO is not to steal rounds. Plus, being bigger than Valentina is going to help her against Amanda. If Amanda struggled to land appreciable offense against Valentina (she landed something like 18% of her significant head strikes against Valentina in the rematch), I see the same happening against Holly. Against Miesha Tate who came to the cage wanting to be anywhere but there, against Ronda Rousey who came out with the worst strategy humanly possible, against Raquel Pennington who put up perhaps the worst performance in UFC title history in recent years, and against Cris Cyborg who is nothing but straight forward, Amanda Nunes can be the Terminator. Against someone who is going to give her movement and not stand flat footed, she is going to struggle. If you remember, when she fought GdR, she didn't even fuck around with trying to stand up with her. She took it straight to the ground ASAP. Fortunately for her, that was when de Randamie had no semblance of defensive wrestling ability and no stable training situation. Since then, Amanda has had the pick of the litter as far as matchups sans the Zingano fight where she literally got snap suplexed after gassing bad. No fault of her own and she won those fights as she should have. In the two fights against the same undersized opponent she had where the opponent just didn't sit in front of her waiting to get blasted, she didn't look impressive at all. Based on her comment at the media day, she is fully aware this isn't going to be a sub ninety second demolition job. It's hard for me to see how she gets it done w/o implementing takedowns unless Holly Holm just stares at her for 5 rounds in a stinker. And the last time I thought Holly Holm was going to be in a stinker of a title fight (then my belief her only way to win), she beat Ronda Rousey all across the cage to the point it looked like Ronda was doing some bizarre interpretative dance.

Cool! It is so rare when we disagree on MMA, this is quite refreshing! As a NM guy, obviously I want Holly to do well. As an MMA guy, I just see Amanda having too many different tools in the box to get the job done. Now what's going to make it interesting is will Amanda use all of those tools or will she think that she can just clang and bang like she does with lesser opponents? If she uses everything at her disposal, it's going to be a long night for Holly. On the other hand, if Amanda is arrogant or misguided enough to think that she can just plow through Holly and overpower her with punches and kicks I see things going very badly for her in a real hurry. Holly Holm has demonstrated incredible knockout power, this may be the first time that Amanda has faced someone who is as physically strong as she is. Should be a very interesting fight. My heart says Holly, and my head says Amanda...

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1 hour ago, OSJ said:

Cool! It is so rare when we disagree on MMA, this is quite refreshing! As a NM guy, obviously I want Holly to do well. As an MMA guy, I just see Amanda having too many different tools in the box to get the job done. Now what's going to make it interesting is will Amanda use all of those tools or will she think that she can just clang and bang like she does with lesser opponents? If she uses everything at her disposal, it's going to be a long night for Holly. On the other hand, if Amanda is arrogant or misguided enough to think that she can just plow through Holly and overpower her with punches and kicks I see things going very badly for her in a real hurry. Holly Holm has demonstrated incredible knockout power, this may be the first time that Amanda has faced someone who is as physically strong as she is. Should be a very interesting fight. My heart says Holly, and my head says Amanda...

Push come to shove, I have no problem with anyone picking Amanda. She's a -325 favorite for a reason. However, from a psychological standpoint, you can see in the first Embedded posted above she knows it's going to be a much different fight. Plus, Amanda has spent so much time talking about the Cyborg rematch that you would believe either they never fought before or Amanda didn't win the first time. So you have to wonder in Amanda's mind, how does this play out if they aren't throwing hands like a parking lot fight at your local supermarket chain? Do I have my concerns about Holm? Sure. Holly basically let Cris stand straight up, throw overhand rights, and didn't make her pay for it enough. I lauded Cyborg at the time for her strategy and patience IIRC, but if I am Holly Holm, it's not like Cris is throwing all these different, intricate techniques that would surprise Holly. You can't be clinching regularly with someone who is coming into the cage at around 170-175 pounds, probably a functional 25 pound weight advantage. There is a possibility Holly Holm can sleepwalk through a fight because I seen it before. However, I can give her the benefit of the doubt on that because she is a true bantamweight and her track record is as consistent as you're going to find in the division. My X factor in the fight, and probably the reason I'm picking Holly, is what is Amanda's own willingness to give up early rounds? I see some clinching, but is Amanda going to spend whole rounds trying to track down Holly? I see that frustrating Amanda to the point where Amanda is either swinging wildly or lunging desperately for takedowns. I think that's definitely the case if Holly escapes the dangerzone of the first half of the first round. I still think Amanda is going to look to quickly trap Holly and hope she can land some straight rights (the key punch against a southpaw) to get her out of there early. My question to everyone is how likely is that? Is it more likely Holly Holm lasts more than two minutes and thirty seconds or Amanda just does what she does to anyone just standing in front of her? So after you answer that, if your pick is the former, what is your outlook for the rest of the fight? Essentially, we would be in an entirely new zone for Amanda Nunes as champion against someone who is competent (i.e. not Raquel Pennington) or undersized (Valentina Shevchenko). If Amanda Nunes can perform admirably in that environment, she is above and beyond the best female fighter of all time. If she doesn't, people have been clearly throwing that mantle and crown around way too loosely. If you're that good supposedly, these are the type of fights you have to win and decisively win.

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I could be way wrong on this, but I fully expect a first-round finish going Amanda's way. Holly is first and foremost a boxer and tends to need the first round to warm up and get in her zone, Amanda isn't going to give her that luxury.

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24 minutes ago, OSJ said:

I could be way wrong on this, but I fully expect a first-round finish going Amanda's way. Holly is first and foremost a boxer and tends to need the first round to warm up and get in her zone, Amanda isn't going to give her that luxury.

You've got company. I also think Amanda Nunes takes a first-round stoppage. I fancy Nunes to be the first fighter to stop Holly Holm with strikes in MMA.

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14 minutes ago, OSJ said:

I could be way wrong on this, but I fully expect a first-round finish going Amanda's way. Holly is first and foremost a boxer and tends to need the first round to warm up and get in her zone, Amanda isn't going to give her that luxury.

I think besides the Cyborg fight and the Pennington fight where back when, Holly takes what you give her.  Ronda gave Holly all the freedom in the world because Ronda was so bad with what she was doing, she gave Holly opportunities to land straight left after straight left. If you go back and watch the Bethe Correia fight, the reason that fight was mostly that bad early on is Bethe was so in the fear zone that she did not throw ANYTHING. She got warned for inactivity. I've seen absolutely terrible heavyweight fights in the UFC like Gonzaga vs. Erokhin where neither guy was warned for inactivity or timidness. Bethe Correia just circled around in that weird robotic stance she has throwing these awful amateur MMA low kicks while Holly was halfway across the ring. Bethe gets warned and finally decides to open up. High kick right to the cabeza. Amanda is infinitely more talented than Correia, but like does she make a mad dash at Holly? Holly would just side step her. Cyborg didn't even do that against Holly Holm which says a lot even though I gave Cyborg as much credit in the world for improving her overall striking since her early Chute Boxe days. If you look at the Holm-Anderson bout, even though I don't think very highly of Megan Anderson as a complete fighter, Holly fought that fight much better than the Cyborg fight. I think Megan landed a hard knee in an exchange, but she was forced to reach on almost everything. Look at how Anderson fought Cat Zingano. She was all in her kitchen to the point where Zingano was literally running along the fence. So in my mind, how does Amanda maneuver enough towards Holly where she can be in a safe distance to not eat a straight left as a response? Amanda had several weeks to gameplan for Cris Cyborg walking straight at her and them meeting mano a mano in the center. Has does Amanda respond when it isn't going to be that easy?

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The fact that Amanda has become analytical in her approach when it comes to this fight makes it the fight I'm looking forward to the most on Saturday. Right now, it would be that fight, then Jones-Marreta just because it's Jon Jones, then Gamebred-Askren, Blachowicz-Rockhold to see if Luke can back up his 205 talk, Gadelha-Markos because my girl Claudinha desperately needs to win that one, and then some fights tied for sixth place (Sanchez-Chiesa, Yadong-Perez, how Edmen Shahbazyan looks against a solid MW in Marshman, Arnold Allen against a past his prime but still tough Gilbert Melendez).

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FYI, Holly Holm is 1-3 in UFC title fights. I'm predicting she goes 1-4 after Saturday. 

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19 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

 

I never tire of seeing Ronda getting her ass kicked, but Amanda ain't no Ronda.

Lord, help me... I'm agreeing with The Vile One...

Edited by OSJ
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8 minutes ago, OSJ said:

I never tire of seeing Ronda getting her ass kicked, but Amanda ain't no Ronda.

Lord, help me... I'm agreeing with The Vile One...

FWIW This video has 6.5 million views already. That's insane considering they post that as a free fight every other time Holly fights and she has had several fights since then.

Anyway, on the co-main, I've said my piece. We shall see.

 

 

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@The Natural Are you paying the £20 to watch this PPV live, or waiting for it on BT Sport's main channels (Friday the 12th, 9pm)? I'm waiting the six days for the free version.

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13 hours ago, OSJ said:

I never tire of seeing Ronda getting her ass kicked, but Amanda ain't no Ronda.

Lord, help me... I'm agreeing with The Vile One...

Join me on the dark side of the force OSJ. It's fun over here. 

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6 hours ago, AxB said:

@The Natural Are you paying the £20 to watch this PPV live, or waiting for it on BT Sport's main channels (Friday the 12th, 9pm)? I'm waiting the six days for the free version.

Thanks for asking. I'm also waiting for the free version.

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