But it was far from the domination we’ve come to expect from the legendary ‘Bones.’ Jones won the fight via split decision on the judges’ cards, losing 48-47 on Junichiro Kamijo’s scorecard. The champ was repeatedly blasted by inside leg kicks from Santos. In the end, he needed to be carried out of the bout by his cornermen.
That led many to speculate Santos had indeed won the close fight. It was a close call, with the difference in significant strikes being negligible. However, that’s far from the case according to UFC President Dana White. He told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto (via MMA Mania) after the fight that anyone who scored it for Santos is just plain insane:
”Anybody who scored that fight for Santos is out of their mind. Yeah, you should never judge another fight if you judged for Santos. Santos fought tough, he’s a tough guy. Something happened to his knee or his leg, I don’t know exactly what, in the second round. He fought through it and was tough, but he lost that fight.”
‘Controlled The Whole Fight?’
White moved on to reveal his reasoning, adding that Jones simply walked down the injured challenger and controlled the action. While Jones was ultimately hurt himself, he had clearly won in White’s eyes:
”Jones controlled the whole fight,” he said. “Walked him down, controlled the pace of the fight, controlled everything. Jon Jones moved forward, at the end you could tell Jon was hurt too, his legs were busted up. He had to be carried out of the Octagon. But, he absolutely won that fight.”
Did Enough To Shut Down The Rematch
Nonetheless, it could be argued that the bout was Jones’ toughest test in the UFC. It was certainly his toughest test since his split decision win over Alexander Gustafsson in 2013, and it showed. The UFC exec admitted Jones didn’t look great compared to the other explosive performances at UFC 239.
Yet Jones did enough to get the job done – even ‘completely dominating’ the action according to White. Based on that view, a rematch is not forthcoming:
”He won,” White said. “It wasn’t a 2.5-second flying knee knockout. It wasn’t knocking someone out that has never been knocked out in MMA before. But, he went out and he won the fight. It’s not a crowd pleaser, it’s not one of those ones that has everyone jumping up and down for joy, but he won the fight — against a really tough guy who came to fight and came to win.
”I thought that Jon completely dominated that fight and I’m not thinking about a rematch.”
Did Thiago Santos do enough to warrant a rematch with Jones – or did he beat him outright?