UFC 239 Preview

As Dana White and the Fertitta brothers embarked on making the UFC a legitimate business enterprise the most exciting division on their books was the Light Heavyweight division. Mixed Martial Arts legends such as Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Rampage Jackson, Lyton Machida, and Vitor Belfort all come to mind. Right now the Lightweight division rules the roost in the UFC as it stands but there is one man who brings more hype to a fight than anyone else in the talent stacked Lightweight division.

UFC 239 on the 6th of July is to be headlined by the G.O.A.T of the octagon Jon Bones Jones. There are many G.O.A.T debates out there Messi versus Cristiani Ronaldo, Tom Brady versus Joe Montana, Michael Jordan versus LeBron James. But there is only one sportsman who when term G.O.A.T is put next to his name no one debates you. And that’s Jon Bones Jones, his resume can’t be compared to anyone else to ever step into the octagon. He has beat six UFC Hall of Famers in his career and his one loss was a disqualification that Dana White is trying to get overturned. The G.O.A.T’s current record stands at 24-1-0, 1NC.

On Saturday, Jon Jones faces a 21-6 Brazilian juggernaut, Thiago Santos the man who owns the title for the longest active total knockouts in the UFC with 11 one ahead of last week’s man of the moment Francis Ngannou. Jones is no stranger to fighting the new bad man in the division as that is all that Dana White has put in front of him throughout his career. I have lost count of how many times there has always been pump and hype about one of Jones’ opponents before a fight and watch it all wither way as the best fighter ever implements his game plan. But I must say in Thiago Santos, Jones comes up against the most powerful fighter he has faced since Rampage Jackson and allows me to say Santos is much much stronger than Jackson.

Jones v Santos Breakdown.
This is as interesting a fight as any so far this year two, exceptionally talented fighters with contrasting styles. One is a knockout artist the a clinical finisher on and off his feet. For both fighters, it’s their third fight since December 2018, which will mean they are octagon ready and none of them is ”rusty”.

The Champ, Jones who is four years younger than Santos will be eager to control the pace of the fight but as is always the case he will go as his opponent goes. Jones has a knack of matching whatever speed his opponent tries to do and bettering him at his own game. So look out to Jon to start slow and see how Santos would like to go about fighting him and aim to pick him apart from there. That said, Jones mustn’t let Santos get into his groove as he depends on his momentum to knock out opponents. Santos isn’t a one punch knockout specialist but uses a flurry of kicks and punches to get his opponents to go goodnight. Santos’ rarely goes beyond the first round and that is exactly what Jones will want to try to do, stretch the heavier Santos to go past the third round and then look to pick him apart in the championship rounds as he did versus Anthony Smith.

Santos is definitely going to make it a point to not allow himself to get nullified by Jones’ greatness which seems to have fighters forgetting their strengths and just trying to survive. Santos’ main weapon against the leaner Jones who has an eight-inch reach advantage would be to use his devastating kicks to keep Jones at bay and stay out of those dangerous elbows that slice opponents every time without fail. Santos will also need to keep moving and circle across Jones to close his strong side and launch attacks from such positions as Jones is good at stopping you from moving forward with those deadly accurate elbows.

That said, Jones’ main weapon will be his reach and movement in and out of attack he shouldn’t be too comfortable taking shots from Santos as Santos gains momentum with every landed punch. The effective striking that has come to define Jones should be on display with precise jabs and moving inside to cut up Santos with his elbows. Jones has three ranges of elbows and these are very critical in his fights and will be in full swing to keep Santos away from offloading.

I have also identified one weakness that each camp can exploit to get an advantage, for the Champ he surely has to have a game plan around picking Santos apart when he gets wild like Deontay Wilder and just starts throwing bombs and not caring how many he lands. And for the challenger, Jones one weakness could actually be that he hasn’t really been rocked bar the first Gustafsson fight where Jones was in trouble in round one.

My pick
So if you read UFC 238 preview you would remember that I mentioned my go to pointers in getting my pick, I either go with my eye test, gut, head or who I like.
Each has served me well to different degrees-:

So once again as I did in Ferguson versus Cerrone in finding my pick I have tapped into all four of my indicators, except this time I’m in the know about who will win the bout.

  • Eye test – Jon Bones Jones.
  • Gut – Jon Bones Jones.
  • Head – Jon Bones Jones.
  • Who I like – Jon Bones Jones.
    So Jones will win by unanimous decision, expect a complete fight from Jones where he will show off his incredible standup game, takedowns and amazing defense.

My pick for UFC 239’s main event
In another title fight, the co-main event, where Amanda Nune’s G.O.A.T status will be challenged she faces for me champion Holly Holmes. Nunes holds two titles and is the first lady to ever do so in the UFC, she is also a knockout artist like fellow countryman Santos and she will also be facing Jones’ teammate Holly in a USA v Brazil double header. I pick Amanda Nunes to still be the champ after the fight, but I won’t be mad if Holmes wins she has pedigree! Jorge Masvidal faces off with Ben Askren in a personal grudge match that many fans are looking forward to. I pick Askren to win it. Luke Rockhold to beat Jan Błachowicz, he needs this win if he is to ever challenge for the title in Light heavyweight division.

I really cant wait for UFC 239 in two days time, I feel so spoilt in 2019.

Philani Mukwakwami

FOUNDER

Sports are a hobby horse of mine, what happens in-between the lines is just as thrilling as what happens outside of them.