The Octagon Yields to T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas for Saturday night’s 11-fight UFC 239 card.
The series features a set of name conflicts, with MMA’s best-ever fighters around the men’s and women’s side defending their respective belts.
Jon’Bones’ Jones is set to shoot on Thiago Santos at the primary event. Jones was a -600 favorite at most novels as of Tuesday, however, the Westgate SuperBook had Jones in -850 late Friday afternoon. Santos was a +575 underdog in the Westgate. A number of overseas stores had Jones in a less expensive price from the -650 area. The total has been 2.5 rounds (‘under’ -135,’over’ +105) at most areas.
Jones (24-1-1 MMA, 18-1-1 UFC) has had his hands raised 25 times in 26 career fights. His only”reduction” was a disqualification for prohibited 12-to-6 elbows in a blowout win over Matt Hamill on Dec. 5 of 2009. His third-round knockout win over Daniel Cormier in UFC 214 was overturned and transformed into a no-decision when Jones tested positive for the PED turinabol.
Jones seems — for now — to be on the right track outside of the cage lately. This is his third battle in a period of six months and one week, marking his most activity since 2011-12. He has indicated he wants to fight three or more occasions in 2019.
Jones is off a unanimous-decision win over Anthony Smith in UFC 235 at March. He dominated Alexander Gustafsson with a third-round KO victory at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 of 2018. Before those two successes, many suspensions and arrests allowed him to compete just four times in a period of more than five decades.
Jones has cleaned the light-heavyweight division during his dominant career. At a five-fight stretch from March 19 of 2011 to Sept. 22 of 2012, he won the belt and successfully defended it four occasions. All five of those wins came over former champions — Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. Only Evans travelled the distance with Jones during that span.
Santos (21-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) is 8-1 in his previous nine fights since February of 2017. He’s ripped six fight-night bonuses in this stretch. The 35-year-old Santos competed at middleweight his whole career until moving up to 205 lbs to confront Eryk Anders from the UFC Fight Night 137 headliner at Sao Paulo last September.
Anders took the fight on six days of note if Jimi Manuwa pulled his departure with Santos because of an injury. The former University of Alabama football player needed to fly to Brazil and also make weight in rapid order. Plus, he had been heading up a weight class for the first time in his profession.
The scrap was a slugfest that earned Fight of the Night honors. Unfortunately, Anders collapsed because of exhaustion while attempting to walk back to his corner when the third round ended. The referee immediately called the fight to give Santos a TKO victory.
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