It might have been ugly, but Jon Jones remains the light heavyweight champion.
Jones earned a split-decision victory over Thiago Santos in the main event of UFC 239.
Despite suffering an apparent leg injury, Santos get the better of several striking exchanges with Jones. However, Jones threw at a much higher volume.
Neither fighter attempted to engage on the ground.
After the fight, Jones required assistance walking back to the locker room.
Full fight report via Cole Henry
Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos for UFC Light-heavyweight Championship
Round 1: They’re circling early, Santos is throwing low kicks anytime that he can find the opening. Santos is very composed in the early going, he continues to target the leg and Jones is doing nothing to counter them. Very interesting round. Not a whole lot happened but Santos took advantage of every opportunity thrown his way. (10-9 Santos)
Round 2: Santos appeared to hurt himself early on with a low kick… Jones rushes in but backs out as Santos unleashes a flurry. Santos scores with a kick to the body. Jones connects with a kick to the midsection and Santos goes down. Weird fall there… not a kick that would normally knock somebody down. Santos scores with a punch to the midsection. Jones is showing some nice head movement. Santos unleashes a ferocious leg kick! Wow! This is a good fight! (10-9 Jones)
Round 3: Santos scores with a kick to the midsection. Santos closes the distance and scores with several shots! Jones returns a straight that puts Santos down! Jones jumps for a knee but Santos avoids it. Santos is stumbling, his knee is absolutely damaged. Santos lands an inside low kick that knocks Jones off balance a bit. (10-9 Jones)
Round 4: Santos opens up with a kick to the midsection and he follows it up with a right hand! Jones escapes the line but Santos follows! Jones evades a flurry and escapes off the cage and back into the center. Jones isn’t targeting the injured leg as much as you would expect, but I guess targeting the leg would lead him exposed. Santos connects with a low kick and then stumbles after he replants the leg. (10-9 Jones)
Round 5: Santos lands some big shots early on! Jones has a chin, Wow! Jones lands a shot to the leg, but Santos seems determined to keep moving forward. Sidekick to the body connects for Jones. Santos is starting to stumble all over the cage… his knees are in bad shape here, or his calf or something. Santos is rushing in with a flurry but Jones is just too evasive. Santos throws a low kick but slips to the mat before it lands. This is so strange… Jones hasn’t tried to capitalize on this at all. (10-9 Santos) (48-47 Jones)
Result: Jon Jones def. Thiago Santos via Split Decision
Analysis: Well… I honestly would not have been surprised to see Santos take that decision. It was very competitive, and Jones seemed a bit off. Jones is making a weird argument in the post-fight about… well just listen to it. He’s going on about outstriking Santos who has a black belt in Muay Thai… I’m left feeling like he had a very poor performance overall.
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