- Diego Sanchez (+250) fights Michael Chiesa (-325) in a welterweight matchup and Jan Blachowicz (+150) fights Luke Rockhold (-185) in a light heavyweight matchup.
- Jorge Masvidal (+195) takes on Ben Askren (-250) in a welterweight fight that could decide the next title challenger in the division.
- Amanda Nunes (-370) will fight Holly Holm (+280) in a bantamweight women’s title fight.
- Jon Jones -600 will fight challenger Thiago Santos (+400) in a light heavyweight title fight.
LAS VEGAS - The Ultimate Fighting Championship comes to Las Vegas this weekend for UFC 239: Jones vs Santos. The main card some of the most high-level fighters in the promotion. Potential title contenders in other weight classes on the card could be revealed as well. The action all takes place inside T-Mobile Arena where two title fights will take place. Light heavyweight Champion and pound for pound king Jon “Bones” Jones puts his title on the line versus Thiago “Marreta” Santos and Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes puts her bantamweight title up for grabs versus Holly “The Preachers Daughter” Holm.
Hardcore MMA fans will also get the chance to see longtime fighter Diego Sanchez continue his ageless career versus the younger Michael Chiesa. Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold continues his career at light heavyweight as he takes on Jan Blachowicz for the chance to potentially get the next crack at the light heavyweight champion.
We’ve got your main previews right here, so you can get the inside scoop before fight night in one of the biggest UFC main card events of the year.
170 LBS: Diego Sanchez versus Michael Chiesa.
Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez started his UFC career on season 1 of the reality UFC television series The Ultimate Fighter, and later earning a UFC contract. Sanchez has fought in the promotion ever since with a 31-11-0 MMA record. Sanchez (+250) has a brawler style of fighting along with taking calculated angles when moving forward to strike. This style of fighting could prove challenging for his opponent.
Michael Chiesa (15-4) has the majority of his wins coming by way of submission. Chiesa’s (-325) controversial fight with heavy hitter Kevin Lee in the UFC’s lightweight division exposed his chin and speed. He may be the slower fighter going into this matchup with the brawling style of Diego Sanchez. Bettors would do well to take a look at the underdog in this fight as speed will not be in the favorites favor.
- Prediction: Sanchez via Rd 1 Knock out
205 LBS: Jan Blachowicz versus Luke Rockhold
A modeling career with Polo Ralph Lauren couldn’t keep former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-4) out of the octagon. He moves up in weight to the 205-pound division for UFC 239 this weekend. Rockhold (-185) is a well-balanced fighter. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, a good wrestler, and has outstanding striking. Standing at a lean 6 ft 3 inches, Rockhold fits well physically in this weight class. He has a vicious left body kick that put opponents like Tim Boetsch on their knees. Rockhold primarily goes for submissions once his opponent has been knocked down or taken down.
Jan Blachowicz (23-8) stands at 6 ft 2 inches tall with an inch longer reach than his opponent. After a tough but unsuccessful outing versus one of the greatest light heavyweight fighters in the UFC, Alexander Gustafsson, Blachowicz later went on a four-fight win streak which was snapped by current title challenger Thiago Santos.
Blachowicz (+150) will need to be aware of his distance in the striking game as well as very mindful if the fight goes to the ground. Rockhold’s kicking game is one of the best in the UFC and his high-level ground game only needs one slip up or lull from Blachowicz before he’s caught in a vintage Rockhold armbar or triangle choke.
- Prediction: Rockhold via Rd 1 submission
170 LBS: Ben Askren versus Jorge Masvidal
Ben Askren (19-0-0 1NC) is an extremely high-level MMA wrestler. After being apart of the first promotional trade which sent MMA great and former UFC Champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship, Askren found himself in the UFC. Ben Askren (-250) is a specialist in the octagon. He uses his strikes to get close to the body, so he can grab, and then he initiates his real game plan: wrestling. He’ll take this approach in his upcoming fight with Masvidal.
Jorge Masvidal (33-13-0) came on the scene after appearing in Kimbo Slice backyard fight videos on Youtube. Masvidal (+195) has an awkward, fluid style of fighting that is primarily boxing centered. He sometimes switches stanches mid-strike. This technique gave him an opening to knock out Darren Till in his previous fight.
Masvidal main weapon of choice in his hands which could prove costly. He needs to get close to outstanding grappler and wrestler Ben Askren if he wants to land punches. Askren’s control on the ground is a huge advantage for him in this matchup. If the fight goes to the ground or if Askren can grab a hold of Masvidal’s body early in the round, then it could be a long night for Jorge.
- Prediction: Askren via Rd 2 submission
135 LBS: Amanda Nunes versus Holly Holm
Amanda Nunes (17-4) is the first women’s double champ in the UFC. She knocked out Cris Cyborg in a 145-pound title fight previously before dropping back down in weight to defend her 135-pound belt. Nunes (-370) has heavy power in her hands. She’s also very fast.
Holly Holm (12-4-0) is a former women’s bantamweight champion. Holm (+280) was a former women’s boxing champ before moving into mixed martial arts. Her weapon of choice is her crisp boxing and head kicks, which she used to knock out UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight title.
Holm will need to stay moving and watch her head movement and striking defense in order to implement her game plan versus Nunes’s heavy striking power. This fight has a good chance of going the distance if Holm can keep her distance and implement her camps game plan. Nunes’s is always dangerous with her hands, however, so the fight could end at any moment if she lands flush.
- Prediction: Holm via split decision.
205 LBS: Jon Jones versus Thiago Santos
The greatest mixed martial artist of all time as well as pound for pound king Jon Jones (24-1-0, 1NC) is all well balanced as they come. He has an enormous 84.5-inch reach that allows him to strike without getting struck back. Jones is a master of using distance and has outstanding striking, wrestling, and fight IQ. Jones (-600) can finish the fight anywhere, but also has the patience, awareness, and fight intelligence to pick apart his opponent with choice strikes.
Thiago Santos (21-6-0) is a heavy-handed striker. 71% of his wins have come by way of knockout. He has little defense when throwing wild strikes but has power in his shots that knock his opponents out. Santos’s average fight time is 6:38.
USAOnlineSportsbooks.com knows Santos (+400) will need to conserve his energy to land big shots throughout the fight or rush Jones in the opening seconds to catch him flush. Santos will most likely go for a striking heavy approach to the matchup. Bettors may need to put their money on Santos to win in the opening round in order for them to come home with winnings. Jones is crafty and could use his distance and knee strikes to keep Santos away until he gasses out from throwing heavy shots. Jones could use his wrestling to get Santos to the ground to work his submission game and nullify the threat of Santos’s knock out power.
- Prediction: Jones via Rd 3 submission.