The primary and co-main events for this summer’s blockbuster UFC International Fight Week card have been shown. UFC 239 takes place July 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and ESPN has reported that the next bouts.
Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos, UFC 239
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will return to the Octagon at UFC 239 if he puts his name on the line against knockout artist Thiago Santos.
Jones (24-1, 1 NC) is 18-1, 1 NC in the UFC and in the minds of many observers of this game is the greatest talent to step into the Octagon. Of course, problems outside the sport with all the law and with USADA have hindered his career, but he is finally back on a consistent fight schedule and that’s a good thing for everybody. Since his No Competition against Daniel Cormier at the summer of 2017, Jones has looked better than ever. He won back the empty title with a brutal knockout win over Alexander Gustafsson in UFC 232 and then defended the belt with a decision over Anthony Smith at UFC 232 just a few weeks ago. Jones has promised the fans that he’ll fight more often now that his private issues are cared for, and this bout with Santos will be his third fight in less than eight weeks.
Santos (21-6) is 13-5 overall from the UFC and is now riding a four-fight win streak, including three straight wins since moving up to light heavyweight. Since going around 205lbs, Santos has knocked out Jimi Manuwa, Eryk Anders and Jan Blachowicz in catastrophic fashion. He is actually second all-time currently behind Vitor Belfort on among the UFC’s all-time best knockout artists. Though he was inconsistent as a middleweight, it appears the move up in weight has helped him gain some strength that could make him a genuine threat in this fight against Jones.
Even though Santos has a puncher’s chance against Jones, you just can not go against the winner. Jones, for his or her problems, is your best MMA fighter of all time, and he’ll be a heavy favorite here in order to defend his belt.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has already released the launching betting line with this bout. Jones started as a -900 favorite, with Santos as a +600 underdog. Click on the link to see Kalikas’ rationale for the opening line.
UFC 239 vs. Holly Holm, amanda Nunes UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes will stick around 135lbs and shield her belt at UFC 239 against top contender Holly Holm.
Nunes (17-4) is 10-1 overall in the UFC and is currently riding an eight-fight win series. After going through each challenger thrown her manner at bantamweight, such as Valentina Shevchenko twice, Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington, she proceeded up to featherweight in her final outing and became the first woman to knock out Cris Cyborg, becoming the featherweight champion in the process. In this struggle against Holm, she will move back down to bantamweight and defend her belt there.
Holm (12-4) is only 5-4 in the UFC, but she has fought elite rivalry in nearly all of her bouts inside the Octagon and her album is skewed consequently. Since her shocking upset head kick KO win over Ronda Rousey in late 2015, Holm is just 2-4 in the UFC, but she has won two of her past few bouts such as a decision win over Megan Anderson in her final outing. Despite her inconsistencies that the past couple of years, she’s still one of the most respected female MMA fighters ever.
Although Holm is a powerful challenge for Nunes, the UFC’s first women’s double champion deserves to be a large favorite heading into this particular bout.
MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas also opened the opening betting line with this particular bout as well. Nunes opened as a -345 favorite, with Holm a +275 underdog. Click the link to read Kalikas’ rational for the introductory line.
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