UFC 239: Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes retain, Jorge Masvidal sets KO record

Dan Owen 7/07/2019
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Jon Jones is still the king at 205 pounds

Jon Jones retained his UFC light-heavyweight crown on a spectacular night of action at UFC239 in Las Vegas.

Jones scored a split-decision win over Brazilian Thiago Santos, but it was elsewhere fireworks flew.

Amanda Nunes notched a TKO victory over Holly Holm, Jorge Masvidal ended Ben Askren with the quickest KO in UFC history and Jan Blachowicz turned the lights out on Luke Rockhold.

Here are the highlights from the T-Mobile Arena.

Jones has too much, just

When Bruce Buffer announced “48-47 Santos” on the first of the scorecards, the MMA world held its collective breath.

As it happened, it was not to be for Thiago Santos but, while he won’t leave Vegas with gold, he certainly offered a puzzle that Jon Jones found more difficult to solve than many of those in past UFC fights.

Both men had extreme respect for the others finishing abilities with neither willing to really put themselves in the firing line to chase the finish.

Santos fought most of the fight with his back to the cage, and was only really able to mount considerable offence in short, powerful bursts. Known for his wild offence, this was a more controlled, technically sound Santos than we had seen previously.

Both men suffered from leg kicks, with Jones taking the brunt early on, but it was Santos who suffered later in the fight with a clear inability to plant properly, restricting offence.

Jones remained a picture of calm, and despite being carried from the cage at the end of the fight due to the leg kicks, he was able to land with consistency, taking the win without ever threatening to finish things.

Nunes the best ever 

Amanda Nunes cemented her position as the greatest female fighter in UFC history with a stunning first-round knockout of Holly Holm.

The two-weight world champion, whose bantamweight title was on the line, landed a devastating head kick – a signature of Holm, to turn out the lights on the Preacher’s Daughter.

Nunes, now on a nine-fight win steak including some of the biggest names the sport has seen, including Ronda Rousey and Christiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino, looked confident throughout – at ease on her feet despite facing a multiple-time kickboxing world champion.

The Lioness is now 18-4 and rapidly running out of serious contenders, while Holm falls to 12-5, with all five of those loses coming in the seven fights since she beat Ronda Rousey in 2015. She may be left questioning where she goes from here.

Jorge in FIVE seconds

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MASVIDAL TOOK 5 SECONDS!! #UFC239

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Jorge Masvidal ended Ben Askren’s unbeaten record in the most spectacular of ways – recording the fastest-ever knockout in UFC history at just five seconds.

Both men had plenty to say coming into the fight but it was over as quickly as it started as Askren ducked for a takedown only to be met by a picture-perfect flying knee. The follow up shots were inconsequential.

Masvidal explained he expected Askren to shoot early and saw the flying knee as a low-risk tactic. He couldn’t have planned it to go any better.

Post-fight Masvidal, now 34-14, called out welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. ‘Gamebred’ may only be 2-2 in his last four UFC fights, but has now finished his last two in spectacular knockout fashion – against Askren, and the highly fancied Darren Till.

The loss is the first of Askren’s 21-fight MMA career.

Questions over the future of Rockhold

Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold had an unsuccessful first outing at light-heavyweight suffering a knockout defeat to Jan Blachowicz.

Rockhold’s chin has been in question at 185 pounds and even though the Polish fighter isn’t known for his heavy hands, he had more than enough in a vicious left to end the American’s night abruptly midway through the second round.

Rockhold had appeared staggered at the end of the first, but had no answer just a couple of minutes later.

Going into the fight Blachowicz was ranked sixth at 205, he improves to 24-8, while Rockhold slips to 16-5 with some serious questions now about his future.

No Nightmare for Chiesa

Michael Chiesa picked up a unanimous decision win over veteran Diego Sanchez in the welterweight division.

Chiesa dominated for long periods taking Nightmare down with relative ease, enjoying top position in the majority of ground exchanges as he improved to 16-4.

Sanchez was rarely able to mount a significant offence and only his experience halted the submission attempts from Chiesa.

On the undercard, there were notable victories for Claudia Gadelha and Arnold Allen.

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See Michael Bisping reflect on stellar career during UFC Hall of Fame induction

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England’s Michael Bisping was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame (HOF) on Friday at a ceremony in Las Vegas, United States.

Bisping said on Friday that his success in the UFC “far exceeded expectations.”

The UFC veteran was joined on Friday by Rashad Evans, Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida who were all inducted into the HOF in Las Vegas.

Rich Franklin was also inducted into the HOF but was not present at the ceremony.










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UFC 242: What a win for Curtis Blaydes or Shamil Abdurakhimov in Abu Dhabi does for the heavyweight division

Dan Owen 6/07/2019
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Curtis Blaydes will take on Shamil Abdurakhimov in Abu Dhabi

When top-10 heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Shamil Abdurakhimov step into the Octagon in Abu Dhabi at UFC 242 both men will be looking to add clarity to a division distinctly lacking in it at present.

Fourth-ranked Blaydes will be looking to put himself in the title picture, while Abdurakhimov – currently in tenth spot, can slot himself into some much more interesting conversations by picking up a win.

With a Daniel Cormier v Stipe Miocic title match on the horizon much can change in a division that has lost its mojo somewhat in recent time – but here are the main talking points.

Can Razor cut through the competition?

A win for Blaydes doesn’t put him straight into the title frame, but he would potentially be one win away a shot at the gold.

With Francis Ngannou now poised to fight the winner of Cormier v Miocic it would make sense for a victorious Blaydes to take on the loser.

This is complicated if Miocic reclaims the title as you would question Cormier’s appetite to continue at the age of 40 – unless it’s rubber match with Stipe, but that keeps the title picture locked down for some time to come.

In this scenario, Blaydes taking on Junior Dos Santos, Ngannou’s latest victim seems likely to decide who forms an orderly queue behind Ngannou.

Shamil on the surge

Working on the back of a three-fight win streak, the Dagestani will be buoyed by some vociferous support in Abu Dhabi thanks to the backing afforded to his countryman, and headliner, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Following a debut defeat in the UFC, Abdurakhimov has won five of six fights since including victories over veteran Andrei Arlovski and Marcin Tybura in his last couple of outings.

A win over Blaydes would project ‘Abrek’ comfortably into the top 10.

A smart fight from here would be to try to avenge his loss to Derrick Lewis from 2016. Lewis is now ranked in the top-five but has dropped his last two to Cormier and Dos Santos.

Between now and then

Before the UFC rolls into Abu Dhabi on September 7, there are a couple of key dates for the heavyweight division.

The obvious one is Cormier v Miocic 2 on August 17, with Cleveland-native Miocic fighting for the first time in 12 months and seeking to claim the gold he lost to the now former two-weight champ DC last July.

However more pertinent to Blaydes and Abdurakhimov may be UFC on ESPN 4 on July 20.

Here the experienced, and currently ninth-ranked Alexey Oleynik will take on Walt Harris, himself looking to break into the top-10.

Russian 42-year-old Oleynik lost last time out to Alastair Overeem, but enjoyed an impressive outing prior to that beating Mark Hunt via first round submission. A win here could see him go after Blaydes in the future – looking to avenge a 2017 loss to the American.

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