The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced its headlining fights for its UFC 239 pay-per-view event that will take place on July 6 at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The promotion chief, Dana White, claimed that a pair of title fights would banner the event while more big names are expected to be added on the card in celebration of the International Fight Week.
Jon Jones will see actions once again and is set to defend his light heavyweight championship for the second time since reclaiming it last December.
Looking to end his reign is the streaking Thiago Santos, who has won four consecutive fights since August last year.
Also slated to provide big lights are two-weight champion Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm. They are scheduled to fight for the bantamweight belt in the co-main event.
Now, the opening odds for these title fights have been released and as expected, the defending champions are the clear favourites to win.
Online sports betting company, BetOnline, released the opening odds for the Jones vs Santos and Nunes vs Holm UFC 239 title fights.
The reigning light heavyweight kingpin starts as the sizeable favourite to win the match at -800 while Santos’s odds came in at +575.
Jones recently scored an easy win over Anthony Smith in his first title-defense at UFC 235 earlier this month.
“Bones” avoided complacency and dominated his challenger through five rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory, as ringside judges all scored 48-44 in favour of him.
Following the victory, Jones said he is ready to take on any fighter, stressing he is in the position not to deny people of an opportunity at a world title.
“Whoever it may be, I’m ready to take them all. I think all these younger fighters should get their opportunity at a world title. When you’re sitting in my position, it’s like, who am I to deny people?
Continuing, the pound-for-pound king stated:
“At the end of the day, I feel like this is my time, my era, and I was meant to be here to be a great, great champion. This belt here is supposed to be covered in red rubies.”
“And I got a new challenge to get this thing covered in red rubies – and that means I got to beat a lot of ass, and I’m up for the challenge.”
But Santos would not be an easy opponent.
He is currently riding on a four-fight winning streak. His most recent win was against the higher ranked Jan Blachowicz at UFC Prague.
After the fight, he immediately called out Jones and vowed to beat him next.
“If it’s Anthony Smith, I’ll beat him again. if it’s Jon Jones, I’ll beat him too,” he said in the post-fight interview.
Meanwhile, Nunes is the -320 favourite to win the co-main event against Holm (+260).
The two-division champion was coming off a historic win over Cris Cyborg in her move to the featherweight class in December.
He joined the ranks of Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier as the only fighters who hold two weight class belts simultaneously.
Nunes is also on an eight-fight winning streak while the former bantamweight champion has gone 2-4 in the last six outings.
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/MMA Leader Official, Jon Jones, Thiago Santos)