Saturday night UFC 239 will take place in Las Vegas and will be headlined with the Light Heavyweight title on the line as Jon Jones defends his title against top contender, Thiago Santos. In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will defend her Bantamweight title against long time contender Holly Holm. This is without a doubt the most anticipated card of the summer.
The UFC Fight Pass prelims will begin at 6pm ET, the ESPN prelims at 8 pm ET, followed by the Pay-Per-View portion at 10 ET.
BELOW ARE PREDICTIONS FOR THE CARD:
(C) Jon Jones vs. (#2) Thiago Santos
In his third fight in eight months, Jon Jones is set to defend his Light Heavyweight title once again and without drama thus far. Jones has looked possibly his best to date with recent dominant victories over Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith. Thiago Santos has won four straight with three consecutive knockouts. As much as I would like to see an upset to liven the division, it’s not in the cards for this one. Thiago has looked extremely dominant in all of his victories but at the cost of being gassed as early as the 2nd round. I think we see a lot of the same with Jones being very methodical with his approach and Santos looking to connect with power very early. Jones plays the waiting game and finishes it on the ground fairly early.
Pick: Jon Jones via 3rd Round KO/TKO.
(C) Amanda Nunes vs. (#2) Holly Holm
Stylistically speaking, this is the most interesting opponent Amanda Nunes has faced in recent memory. Nunes is undoubtedly the greatest women’s fighter of all time with victories over Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, and two victories over current Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. Holm on the other hand has a streak of inconsistency going 2-6 across Bantamweight and Featherweight but with the state of both divisons and Holm’s resume, it is difficult to argue that she does not deserve the opportunity. It will be no surprise to see Holm attempt to outpoint Nunes and Nunes press forward from beginning to end looking to end the fight in spectacular fashion. Holm wins rounds early but the pressure of Nunes will get it done on the judges scorecards.
Pick: Nunes via Decision
(#4) Jorge Masvidal vs. (#5) Ben Askren
This is the fight that I am most looking forward to. Both men know how to sell a fight and this has been no different. Masvidal is coming off of a highlight reel knockout over Darren Till while skepticism and doubt still surrounds Askren for many following his controversial win over former champion Robbie Lawler. The biggest question about Askren was answered in his last contest as he proved he could press forward after taking heavy strikes. Masvidal is known as a volume striker but surprised many with his one punch power in his last bout against Till. I have leaned toward Masvidal leading up to this fight until I was reminded of his fight against Demian Maia. That said, don’t blink. Masvidal will land some beautiful combinations keeping the fans on their feet but Askren will do what Askren does, grind.
Pick: Askren via Decision
The Rest of the Card:
Luke Rockhold def. Jan Blachowicz via Submission
Michael Chiesa def. Diego Sanchez via Decision
Arnold Allen def. Gilbert Melendez via KO/TKO
Marlon Vera def. Nohelin Hernandez via KO/TKO
Claudia Gadelha def. Randa Marcos via Submission
Alejandro Perez def. Yadong Song via Decision
Edmen Shahbazyan def. Jack Marshman via Decision
Ismail Naurdiev def. Chance Rencountre via Decision
Julia Avila def. Pannie Kianzad via Decision