Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the pay-per-view (PPV) business last night (Sat., July 6, 2019) to stage UFC 239 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In UFC 239’s main event of the evening, Jon Jones retained his Light Heavyweight title by defeating Thiago Santos via split decision (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Amanda Nunes proved once again the reason(s) she is the baddest woman on the plant, knocking out Holly Holm in the first round (highlights).
Biggest Winner: Jorge Masvidal
Yes, Ben Askren talked the talk and yes he got under Masvidal’s skin. But, to his credit, “Gamebred” kept his cool when they came face-to-face several times in Las Vegas leading up to the fight. And that is commendable, seeing as how Leon Edwards didn’t get the same treatment from the dangerous South Floridian.
But, once fight night came, the bout was over as quickly as it began, as Masvidal blitzed “Funky” and connected with a flying knee to put him out for the count, setting a new UFC record for fastest knockout at five seconds (see it again here). He also managed to sneak in two unnecessary shots for good measure. Not only that, but Masvidal scored $50,000 in bonus change and should now be — without a doubt — the next man to face Kamaru Usman for the title, coming off back-to-back knockout wins over Darren Till and now Askren.
Indeed, with Colby Covington currently booked to fight Robbie Lawler in August, there really is no one else standing in front of Masvidal. Plus, Kamaru Usman was ready to give Askren a shot at the title had he won, so the same opportunity should be given to Masvidal. The resurrection is real.
Runner Up: Amanda Nunes
Once again, Nunes proved the reason she is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter of all time, starching former Bantamweight champion Holly Holm in the opening round, becoming the first woman to ever knockout Holm inside the cage.
That is now nine straight victories inside the Octagon for Nunes, including first-round stoppages over Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg and now Holm. That is a feat that will never again be repeated by any female MMA fighter. Furthermore, in defending her 135-pound strap, Nunes became the first-ever UFC “champ-champ” to drop back down to her original weight class and successfully defend her belt after winning her second separate division title. Nunes is now truly in a league of her own, has two world titles and is running out of suitable foes to challenge her.
Honorable Mention: Jan Blachowicz
We have to give Blachowicz some love after giving Luke Rockhold a rude welcome to the Light Heavyweight division, knocking out the former Middleweight champion viciously in the second round of their fight.
Blachowicz actually hadRockhold hurt at the end of round one, giving him the confidence to finish the job in the next round by landing a perfectly-placed shot on Rockhold’s chin to put him out for the count. For those keeping count, Blachowicz has now won five of his last six with his lone loss coming to Thiago Santos. He may not make a lot of noise with his mouth, but Blachowicz gets it done with his actions night, night out. I hope UFC rewards him with an even bigger fight next.
Biggest Loser: Ben Askren
Askren is a talker, we all know that and we’ve known that for some time. You just hear him a lot more now that he is under UFC’s bright lights. Since his UFC signing, Askren quickly became one of the guys fans loved to hate to a fan-favorite seemingly overnight. And he will be the first to tell you he doesn’t understand how it happened. Still, it did, and even Dana White became a fan. But, after starting his career 19-0-1, Askren suffered his first professional MMA loss in record-setting time thanks to Masvidal. In the process, “Funky” lost all the momentum he had going for him, which likely would have earned him a championship showdown against bitter rival, Kamaru Usman, next. For Masvidal — who was the butt of Askren’s jokes over the last few months — he can now sit back and relax after getting the last laugh. Askren, meanwhile, will have to regroup and look at the long road that awaits him to get back to the top.
To get full UFC 239: “Jones vs Santos” results and play-by-play click here.