This year has been great for the sport of MMA. From Israel Adesanya staying a perfect 17-0 to one of the craziest head kick knockouts by Valentina Shevchenko, it’s all been nothing but a warm up to UFC 239 on July 6th. One of, if not the greatest mixed martial artist of all time will step into the octagon to defend the Light Heavyweight championship belt. That’s right I’m talking about the almighty Jon “Bones” Jones.
In his first fight of 2019, Jones successfully defended the Light Heavyweight belt from the grips of Anthony Smith. This fight was very back-and-forth with both fighters trading leg kicks and a couple seriously impressive takedowns from Jones. After five rounds of war, Jones came out on top. This man can do it all. The frequency of his kicks and the diversity of styles used make him such a tough opponent. Jones has a professional record of 24-1 (1 no contest) and so far his toughest opponent is still Alexander Gustafsson. Can anyone pose a threat to him? Can anyone match him as closely as Gustafsson did? Enter: 35 year old Thiago Santos.
“The Sledgehammer” is 21-6 in his professional MMA career with 15 of those wins by knockout/TKO. He has an impressive reputation for beating his opponent down with a fury of body kicks and punches. When you look at this man you can feel the ferocity as he’s a very intimidating subject.
At 6 foot 2 in with a 76 in reach, he’s a force to be reckoned even with Jones having two inches of height and eight and a half inches of reach advantage.
Santos’ last fight came on February 23rd when he TKO’d Jan Blachowicz off a devastating hook/cross combo that instantly dropped Blachowicz. Check out his ferocity below:
What’s even more impressive to me is Santos is moving backwards while avoiding the strikes of Blachowicz and connects his 1-2 off his back foot. To me, that is some serious power!
This fight should be something special to watch. Ferocity vs technicality. Jones will do what he does best using his long reach and vicious kicks to keep Santos at bay. He’ll wear him down and force him into a trap, which he is by far the best at setting. To me, the winner of this fight will be determined by the mental game. Whoever can out-think the other and bend him to their will, comes out on top. Advantage: Jones!
I predict a full five rounds for this championship bout. I think Santos has the abilities to win one or two rounds but in the end, Jones’ skill and craftsmanship will solidify another win under his big gold belt! UFC 239 is Saturday July 6th on ESPN+ PPV.
Stay tuned for part II of my UFC 239 preview.
Feature Photo: T-mobilearena.com