The Octagon Yields to T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas for Saturday night’s 11-fight UFC 239 card.
The show features a set of name fights, with MMA’s best-ever fighters on the men’s and women’s side defending their individual belts.
Jon’Bones’ Jones is set to shoot on Thiago Santos in the primary event. Jones was a -600 favored at most books as of Tuesday, however, the Westgate SuperBook had Jones in -850 late Friday afternoon. Santos was a +575 underdog at the Westgate. Quite a few overseas stores had Jones at a less expensive price from the -650 area. The total has been 2.5 rounds (‘under’ -135,’over’ +105) at most spots.
Jones (24-1-1 MMA, 18-1-1 UFC) has had his hand raised 25 occasions in 26 career conflicts. His only”reduction” was a disqualification for prohibited 12-to-6 elbows at a blowout win over Matt Hamill on Dec. 5 of 2009. His third-round knockout win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 was overturned and changed to a no-decision when Jones tested positive for the PED turinabol.
Jones appears — for now — to be on the right track outside of the cage lately. This will be his third fight in a span of six months and a week, marking his most activity since 2011-12. He’s indicated he wants to fight at least three times in 2019.
Jones is away from a unanimous-decision win over Anthony Smith in UFC 235 at March. He dominated Alexander Gustafsson using a third-round KO victory at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 of 2018. Before those two victories, various suspensions and arrests allowed him to compete just four times in a span of over five years.
Jones has cleaned the light-heavyweight branch during his 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 times. All five of these wins came over former winners — Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. Just Evans went the distance with Jones during this interval.
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 entire career until moving around 205 lbs to face Eryk Anders in the UFC Fight Night 137 headliner in Sao Paulo past September.
Anders took the fight on six days of note if Jimi Manuwa pulled out his departure with Santos because of an injury. The former University of Alabama football player had to fly to Brazil and also make weight in quick purchase. Plus, he was going up a weight class for the first time in his profession.
The garbage was a slugfest that got Fight of the Night honors. Unfortunately, Anders collapsed due to exhaustion when attempting to walk back to his corner once the third round ended. The referee immediately called the fight to give Santos a TKO victory.
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