The Octagon Yields to T-Mobile Center at Las Vegas for Saturday night’s 11-fight UFC 239 card.
The show features a pair of name conflicts, with MMA’s best-ever fighters on the men’s and women’s side defending their respective belts.
Jon’Bones’ Jones is set to take on Thiago Santos in the primary event. Jones was a -600 favorite at most books as of Tuesday, however, the Westgate SuperBook had Jones in -850 late Friday afternoon. Santos was a +575 underdog at the Westgate. Quite a few overseas stores had Jones in a cheaper price from the -650 neighborhood. The total was 2.5 rounds (‘beneath’ -135,’over’ +105) at most areas.
Jones (24-1-1 MMA, 18-1-1 UFC) has had his hand raised 25 occasions in 26 career conflicts. His only”loss” was a disqualification for illegal 12-to-6 elbows at a blowout win over Matt Hamill on Dec. 5 of 2009. His third-round knockout win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 was overturned and transformed to some no-decision when Jones tested positive for the PED turinabol.
Jones seems — for now at least — to be on the ideal path outside the cage lately. This is his third fight in a period of six months and one week, marking his most action since 2011-12. He has indicated he wishes to fight three or more times in 2019.
Jones is away from a unanimous-decision win over Anthony Smith in UFC 235 in March. He dominated Alexander Gustafsson using a third-round KO success at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 of 2018. Before those two successes, many suspensions and arrests enabled him to compete only four times in a period of over five years.
Jones has cleaned out the light-heavyweight branch during his career. In a five-fight extend from March 19 of 2011 to Sept. 22 of 2012, he won the belt and successfully defended it four occasions. All five of those wins came over former champions — Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. Just Evans went the distance with Jones during that interval.
Santos (21-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) is 8-1 in his previous nine fights since February of 2017. He’s bagged six fight-night bonuses during this stretch. The 35-year-old Santos competed at middleweight his entire career until moving around 205 pounds to face Eryk Anders from the UFC Fight Night 137 headliner in Sao Paulo past September.
Anders took the fight on six days of note when Jimi Manuwa pulled out his bout with Santos due to an injury. The former University of Alabama football player needed to fly to Brazil and make weight in quick order. Plus, he had been heading up a weight class for the first time in his career.
The scrap was a slugfest that got Battle of the Night honors. Unfortunately, Anders collapsed due to exhaustion when attempting to walk back to his corner when the third round ended. The referee immediately called the fight to give Santos a TKO victory.
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