Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today that the July 6th UFC 239 event in Las Vegas will feature a light heavyweight title main event between champion Jon Jones and surging contender Thiago Santos. It also announced a co-main event title bout in the women’s bantamweight division between champion Amanda Nunes and former champ Holly Holm.
Jones (24-1, 1 no contest), widely considered the best fighter on the planet, returned from nearly 18 months away from the sport this past December with an emphatic TKO victory over rival Alexander Gustafsson to reclaim his 205-pound title. He most recently defended the belt with a one-sided unanimous decision victory over challenger Anthony Smith earlier this month. Santos (21-6) has gone 3-0 since moving up to the light heavyweight division, all of them by TKO. He most recently finished veteran Jan Blachowicz in the main event of a fight night event last month.
Nunes (17-4) is currently riding an eight-fight win streak and she capped off the biggest victory of her career this past December when she knocked out Cris Cyborg to become a multi-division champion at 135 and 145 pounds. Nunes also holds stoppage victories over Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate in her current streak. Holm (12-4) rose to stardom when she became the first woman to defeat Rousey and take her title in 2015. She has fought twice for the 145 pound belt, losing competitive decisions and is dropping back down to bantamweight for this opportunity.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas explained his rationale for setting the opening odds for both bouts.
“It’s great to see Jon Jones, one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, actively fighting again. In Thiago Santos, Jones has an opponent he’s more than capable of beating, but one who represents a legitimate threat with his striking. Santos is one of the most dangerous and powerful strikers Jones has faced in recent memory, but there is a massive disparity in ground skills in this contest. Santos possesses strong takedown defense, but his lack of ground game will be a huge weakness Jones can exploit with his strong wrestling, top control, ground and pound and submissions. This fight boils down to Santos having a puncher’s chance because he likely doesn’t have the conditioning to win a five-round decision he can’t steal rounds with takedowns.”
“Amanda Nunes possesses superior speed, athleticism, power and durability over Holly Holm and will be capable of finishing the fight at any moment. Holm has excellent kickboxing technique, improving wrestling and sensational conditioning. The best path to victory for Holm will be to try to slow Nunes down with takedown attempts while landing kicks and keeping her distance on the outside. Nunes’ confidence is at an all-time high right now after her victory over Cyborg, but that could be do her detriment if she gets over-eager to get a finish against a strong counter-striker in Holm. That being said, Nunes has been blowing out opponents while also improving her own conditioning, which was once a weakness. Nunes is the deserved heavy favorite here.”
The odds for the UFC 239 main and co-main events are posted below via Several Bookmakers.
UFC 239: Las Vegas, Nevada – July 6th 2019
UFC Light Heavyweight Title
Thiago Santos +500
Jon Jones -900
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title
Holly Holm +275
Amanda Nunes -345
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