UFC 239 is this weekend, live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and a massive light heavyweight bout between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos!
We have a full preview and betting tips for the headline bout below!
Light Heavyweight Championship
After being stripped of the light heavyweight title for testing positive to banned substances, Jones won the vacant title back in December of 2018 with a TKO win over Alexander Gustafsson. He defended the title for the first time in this reign when he defeated Anthony Smith by unanimous decision back in March of this year.
His opponent, Thiago Santos, made his debut in the light heavyweight division against Eryk Anders in September of last year and won by TKO. He’s since gone on to win two more bouts in the division over Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz, which was enough to earn him the title shot against Jones.
The resurgence for Santos in the light heavyweight division comes after a storied career in the middle-weight and welterweight divisions where he finished with an 18-6 record through 24 fights. Fighting at the heavier weight seems to suit the Brazilian, who is naturally a very heavy-handed striker and possesses much more power with the extra weight.
Where the real challenge will come for Santos on Sunday, however, is simply staying in the fight for long enough to land the Hail Mary that is probably his only chance of winning this fight. Santos is one of the hardest hitters in the division and will be relying on an early knockout to beat Jones.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, Jones possesses the longest reach in UFC history and is the master of keeping his distance and using his length and athletisicm to take the fight to ground, where he is an absolute master of the ground and pound game.
Jones starts as a strong favourite for the fight and it’s hard to bet against him. While his bread and butter is the ground and pound game, he is arguably the most complete fighter the sport has ever seen and is capable of standing up with even the best of strikers, especially given his reach.
We think its likely that Santos comes out swinging heavily in the first round looking for that knockout. Jones should keep his distance early in the fight and look to assert his dominance in Round 2. A stoppage via TKO in Round 2 or 3 seems the play here.
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