Most of the fights on Saturday night’s UFC 239 card out of Las Vegas, Nevada, were barnburners with quick, decisive finishes. But, interestingly enough, Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos was not one of those. The pay-per-view (PPV) main event went the full five rounds, ending in a split decision win for Jones and marking the first time in his career a judge has scored a fight against him (see the official scorecard here).
But, if you ask UFC President Dana White, that judge needs to be barred from ever judging again because Jones won that fight straight up.
”Anybody who scored that fight for Santos is out of their mind,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “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.”
The Nevada judge who gave Santos the fight 48-47 was Junichiro Kamijo, and he gave the Brazilian power puncher the first, second and fourth rounds. He wasn’t alone in his assessment that Santos had edged three rounds to win, but White laid out exactly why “Bones” beat “Marreta” in his 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.”
Was it the prettiest or most exciting? No. But, White still had appreciation for the performance.
”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.”
Just don’t get your hopes up for a rematch any time soon, despite Thiago Santos making history by handing Jon Jones his first career split decision.
”I thought that Jon completely dominated that fight and I’m not thinking about a rematch,” White said.