Jon Jones had a close five-round battle with Thiago Santos on Saturday, with Jones edging the victory via split decision to win the fight and retain his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. From UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Jones lost at least two rounds on all three judges scorecards, with the score being 49-48, 49-48 and 49-48, with one of the scorecards going towards Santos.
A turning point in the fight was early when Santos injured a leg. He continued to throw kicks but would stumble and fall down numerous times in the bout. Santos had flurries of punches throughout the fight, as both fighters didn’t engage as much as possible.
“Boy he is tough,” Jon Jones said after the fight. He apologized to fans and supporters in the interview as well. He claimed that Santos’ best chance of winning as via KO, hence why he didn’t engage so much.
In the co-main event of UFC 239, Amanda Nunes defeated Holly Holm in a one round TKO victory. Nunes retained her Bantamweight Championship for the fourth time in her career.
Brian Ortega’s undefeated streak was broken at the Scotiabank Centre on Saturday, allowing his opponent, Max Holloway to retain his Featherweight Championship. The finish came via doctor’s stoppage in-between rounds four and five, with Ortega having substantial damage around his left eye. The fight was an absolute brawl with Holloway pushing the pace most of the time. Holloway was landing more often, but Ortega was responding and doing significant damage as well. Going into round five people were under the assumption that Ortega would have to get a finish in the final round to become the new champion. Once Holloway saw the fight get waved off he jumped the octagon to pick up his son to celebrate.
Promoter Dana White said that the gate for the show was 3.28 million, and that it was a sell out with no single seats available. The main event was given fight of the night, with Holloway receiving performance of the night along with Thiago Santos, who kicked off the main card.
In the co-main event spot for the show was another championship bout, with top contenders Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko battling for the vacant Flyweight championship. The fight went all five rounds with Shevchenko having dominant striking and ground game for the majority of the time. All three judges scored the bout 49-46 in favour for Valentina.
The main card had two bouts held in the heavier of weight classes, both having dramatic finishes. The previously mentioned Santos battled Jimi Manuwa in a slugger bout that did not leave the second round. Santos finished Manuwa with punches after being ahead in the first. In the 11th bout of the night Gunnar Nelson put Alex Oliveira in a Rear Naked Choke after making him bleed heavily with strikes from the ground. On the replay it seemed like the referee came in to stop the fight because of the bleeding instead of the submission.
Canadian fighters went 3-3 for the night, with the biggest name of them all, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, being handed a loss. Up and coming Manitoban fighter Brad Katona and veteran UFC fighter Elias Theodorou both got wins by scorecards favouring them. The slowest bout on the main card included Alberta-born Hakeem Dawodu battling to a decision against Kyle Bochniak. This fight made the Canadians break even for the night.
UFC has their final PPV of the year on the 29th, with formerly suspended Jon Jones fighting Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch. Before then UFC heads to Milwaukee on the 15th for their final UFC on FOX card before making the move to ESPN.