Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos
|Date & Time||Saturday July 6, 2019, 11:45 PM (EDT)|
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Line: Jones -578 / Santos +472 -- Over/Under:
Jon Jones and Thiago Santos fight Saturday during UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena.
Jon Jones enters this fight with a 24-1 record and has won 42 percent of his fights by knockout. Jones has won his last 17 fights and is coming off a March win over Anthony Smith. Jones is averaging 4.48 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 57 percent. Jones is averaging 2.07 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 47 percent. Jones convincingly defended his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, and that was with being docked two points due to an illegal knee. Jones peppered Lionheart with a variety of strikes, didn’t allow him to change his stance without receiving a hard kick to the body, and he only ate 45 total strikes throughout five rounds. Every time Jones steps into the octagon he shows why he’s the best in the sport, as there’s nothing he doesn’t do at a high level and he does a wonderful job of taking away his opponents strengths. A highly efficient striker who is a master on his feet and just as polished in the clinch, Jones is always in complete control and is one of those fighters who seems to get stronger as the fight goes along. There’s just no weakness in his attack and it’s why he’s always a heavy favorite heading into his latest bout. This will be Jones’ eighth career fight in Nevada.
Thiago Santos enters this fight with a 21-6 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. Santos has won eight of his last nine fights and is coming off a February win over Jan Blachowicz. Santos is averaging 5.01 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. Santos is averaging one takedown with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Santos is coming off a third round knockout victory that earned performance of the night honors, as he took advantage of his opponents aggressiveness. Blachowicz was patient through the first two rounds and for whatever reason decided to rush in, and Stantos caught him and finished him off with ground and pound. There’s no secrets when it comes to Santos, as he’s pure knockout power and wants a fight standing up where he can unload and hope one of those shots will land. While a black belt in Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Santos doesn’t tap into his ground game often and has actually produced just five takedowns on the UFC level. Santos is throwing bomb after bomb and it’s a thing of beauty when it lands. Unfortunately, Santos does have a history of tiring out when he doesn’t get the early finish and he hasn’t shown consistently he has other ways to win fights. This will be Santos’ sixth career fight in Nevada.
There’s a case to be made for Santos winning this fight, as the guy has ridiculous knockout power and just needs to land one shot and that clean strike could put anybody to sleep. Yes, even Jones. It’s the ultimate equalizer and is the reason why I wouldn’t talk you off the ledge if you’re looking at the heavy plus money. Sometimes backing the underdog is worth the risk when you consider this steep price with the defending champ. I'm never thrilled to lay -500 or over lines. With that said, that’s the only way Santos can beat Bones, as he’s giving up the edge in every other area of the fight. Jones is the better pure striker, better defender, better at stuffing takedowns and better on the canvas. Jones has also fought guys with scary knockout power before and we see where that got them. It takes more than a one-trick pony to bat this guy. Jones will mix in a lot of kicks to wear down Santos and I wouldn’t be shocked if he took this fight to the ground at some point to completely make Santos ineffective. Jones is too smart to fall into these traps and his high IQ will allow him to pick him apart with no fear outside of his pop.
Bones keeps his belt.