Friday, September 30, 2022

UFC 239 Predictions: Jones vs. Santos

UFC 239 is upon us. The event will be held inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada tomorrow night (July 6). Headlining the card will be a light heavyweight title bout between champion Jon Jones and Thiago Santos. Taking the co-main event spot will be a women’s bantamweight title showdown between champion Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm. The main card will also feature a pivotal welterweight bout between Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren.

MMA News continues to keep you posted on the latest UFC 239 updates. Earlier today, we covered the weigh-ins, which you can see the results for here. Myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens have once again linked up to provide main card predictions for UFC 239.

Take a look at the bouts set for the main card:

  • Jon Jones (c) vs. Thiago Santos – for light heavyweight title
  • Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Holly Holm – for women’s bantamweight title
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold
  • Michael Chiesa vs. Diego Sanchez

Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Thiago Santos’ four-fight winning streak is nothing to look down upon and he deserves this title opportunity. With that being said, Santos hasn’t fought anyone near the level of Jones in terms of fight IQ as well as an elite fighter who executes game plans to the letter. I think Jones keeps Santos at bay with oblique kicks before taking him down at the right time. On the ground, I see Jones finishing the fight via TKO. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

Ed Carbajal: Jones has been winning for a long time and has yet to beat in the cage. His one loss is a disqualification that could be overturned. Santos has 21 wins, 15 that come by way of knockout or TKO. Jones is probably the best that has ever done it, but all streaks end and for some reason, I feel like Santos can end his. That’s the only reason I’m going against what could likely be incorrect. (Prediction: Thiago Santos)

Andrew Ravens: As much as I love this fight, I think Jones picks apart Santos just like everyone else that has shared the Octagon with him. Santos brings a high level of striking but Jones is simply in his prime and finds a way. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jones try to take this one to the ground due to the danger that Santos brings. That’s what will be the intrigue of this fight as Jones is a heavy favorite to win. Jones retains the title by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Jon Jones

Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Holly Holm has all the right tools to win this fight. She very well could keep her distance, move around, and make Amanda Nunes chase her for five rounds on her way to a unanimous decision win. I don’t think it’ll work out that way tomorrow night, however. I can see Holm tasting Nunes’ power just enough to be hesitant when she should be attacking and Nunes taking the decision win based off aggression. (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

Ed Carbajal: Holm gets a lot of title shots but has the chance to reclaim what was once hers at UFC 239. However, she has not had the luck of doing as well as she did when she upset her division with her finish of Ronda Rousey and as the sport changed a lot since then, it does not seem like Holm has. Nunes has done the opposite and now holds two-division titles. Outside of striking, Nunes has more ways to win. (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

Andrew Ravens: Nunes has beaten anyone and everyone who has a name in the division except for Holm. Some could argue that Nunes is the women’s bantamweight GOAT right now but with a win over Holm, it would be undeniable at that point. As much as I like Holm, for whatever reason when there is a big moment as of late she doesn’t shine as bright. With that being said and the skills that Nunes presents, I find it hard to see Holm winning. Nunes walks away with the unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Amanda Nunes

Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren

Fernando Quiles Jr.: You’ve probably heard this countless times, but Ben Askren must get Jorge Masvidal down to the mat and keep him there. Masvidal has nasty boxing and if you let him get into a groove on the feet, it’ll be hard to stop him. Demian Maia stuck to Masvidal like glue and didn’t give him any space to showcase his standup. Askren will need to avoid big shots while going for takedowns and his control will have to be on point. I think he gets it done. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

Ed Carbajal: Askren has proven himself to be one of the strongest wrestlers in MMA throughout his career. If he does not get a finish, he will wear down his opponents with pressure and control on the ground. Masvidal is no slouch on the ground either, but his strength is in his striking. He can finish Askren if he can keep him standing, but it is hard to pick against the former Bellator and ONE champion if it goes to the ground. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

Andrew Ravens: Masvidal brings a different challenge to Askren, who beat Robbie Lawler in his promotional debut. While Lawler is hard to get to the ground, Masvidal brings a challenge off of his back, which may bring a different level of difficulty for Askren. This is a tough pick. Masvidal has struggled as of late outside of knocking out Darren Till and I think Askren grabs the split decision win. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Ben Askren

Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Luke Rockhold expresses high confidence in his ground game. With nine submissions to his credit, Jan Blachowicz has shown that he is quite comfortable on the ground as well. Before the action gets there, however, I can see Rockhold’s speed being an issue for Blachowicz. I think Rockhold will be on his horse for three rounds, mixing up takedowns along the way and nabbing a decision win. (Prediction: Luke Rockhold)

Ed Carbajal: Rockhold has not fought in over a year and has had issues with his knee. It is hard not to wonder if he may have lost a step in his mobility from his time in the sport. Blachowicz is coming off a loss to Santos and could use the win. Still, Rockhold, when focused, is a dangerous fighter but Blachowicz may give him enough problems to pull off a decision. (Prediction: Jan Blachowicz)

Andrew Ravens: This is the perfect fight for Rockhold’s light heavyweight debut as Jan is a tough competitor who gives top level guys a challenge. Rockhold should run through Jan with his striking and gets it done by decision that will probably grant him a title shot. (Prediction: Luke Rockhold)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Luke Rockhold

Michael Chiesa vs. Diego Sanchez

Fernando Quiles Jr.: You wanna talk about a fun scrap to open the main card. Diego Sanchez will look to apply pressure and go for takedowns, while Michael Chiesa threatens the submission to scramble back to his feet. I can see the two slugging it out on the feet and having some fun exchanges on the ground. Ultimately I think Chiesa is simply the fresher fighter and he’ll get in the better offense. Of course Mickey Gall also had younger legs and Sanchez mauled him, but Chiesa is a different beast. (Prediction: Michael Chiesa)

Ed Carbajal: This fight could be one of the more entertaining ones of the night since both Chiesa and Sanchez have been in some pretty good scraps lately. Sanchez brings a lot of toughness and durability with a pretty good grappling IQ as does Chiesa. They may cancel each other out on the ground, which will leave this fight to the striking. If so, Sanchez might be the one getting his hand raised. (Prediction: Diego Sanchez)

Andrew Ravens: Most people are fans of Sanchez as he always brings a great fight to anyone that he competes again. It’s also been a fun ride to see him pick up two straight wins. However, I believe that Chiesa is simply on another level and continues to look to climb up the rankings. Chiesa gets it done in a tough fight by decision. (Prediction: Michael Chiesa)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Michael Chiesa

That’ll do it for the UFC 239 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 239.

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