UFC 239 to feature a pair of title fights
Published on Thursday, 3/28/19, at 11:10 a.m. Eastern.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will return to T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas on July 6 for International Fight Week. On Wednesday, the promotion announced the headliners for the UFC 239 card that’ll feature two title fights.
In the main event, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones will put his LHW strap on the line against Thiago Santos, who has bagged three Fight Night bonuses and gone 3-0 since moving up to the 205-pound loop. The 35-year-old Brazilian is 4-0 since last August, including knockout wins over Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz.
Anders, who had taken the fight on one week of notice, collapsed trying to walk back to his corner after Round 3. In a hilarious tweet the next day, the former Alabama linebacker who goes by the moniker of ‘Ya Boi,’ stated, “Ain’t gonna lie, haven’t been that tired since the end of my wedding night.”
Anders and Santos both took home an extra 50 large for Fight of the Night honors. Santos won Performance of the Night bonuses for his KOs of Manuwa (early Round 2) and Blachowicz (early R3).
Jones will basically be fighting for the third time in six months after he graced the Octagon only four times in stretch spanning more than five year due to various fuck ups on his part. Jones beat Alexander Gustafsson by third-round KO in Dec. 29 of 2018 and then breezed to an easy decision win over Anthony Smith earlier this month.
5Dimes.eu has installed Jones as an enormous -850 favorite, leaving Santos as a +520 underdog. Santos owns an 8-1 record since Feb. 19 of 2017. The only defeat came in a first-round KO loss to David Branch last April.
Santos defeated Smith with a body kick and subsequent punches in February of 2018. Smith has also been booked for a new bout, as he’ll face Gustafsson this summer in Sweden.
The UFC 239 co-main event will feature double-champ Amanda Nunes defending her women’s bantamweight belt against Holly Holm, the former champ in the 135-pound division. Nunes went up to the featherweight division and scored a first-round KO of Cyborg Santos her last time out.
Nunes, who is 8-0 since getting knocked out by ‘Alpha’ Cat Zingano at UFC 178 back in 2014, has beaten all the legends of the sport in the past five years. Nunes’s victims have included Valentina Shevchenko (twice, albeit in a pair of super-close decisions), Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Cyborg.
Nunes is a -355 favorite at 5Dimes, while Holm is +265 on the comeback (risk $100 to win $265). Holm has lost four of six fights since shocking Rousey to win the belt at UFC 193. However, there was no shame in any of the defeats.
Holm was up 3-1 on the judges’ cards in her first title defense before being submitted by Tate in the fifth round at UFC 196. She went the distance with Shevchenko and Cyborg and dropped a controversial decision loss to Germaine de Randamie in her featherweight debut for the inaugural 145-pound championship.
‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ squeezed in a third-round head-kick KO over Bethe Correia in Singapore back in 2017 and in her last fight, Holm won a decision over Megan Anderson.
Luke Rockhold will make his LHW debut at UFC 239 when he takes on Blachowicz. If Rockhold can prevail in impressive fashion, the former middleweight kingpin could be in line for the next shot at Jones, assuming ‘Bones’ gets past Santos.
In other news, former welterweight champs Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler will run it back in the UFC on ESPN4 headliner. Woodley took the 170-pound belt from Lawler with a first-round KO win back at UFC 201 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.