Jon “Bones” Jones dug deep in his arsenal to survive a huge uprising from Thiago Santos in his second title defence.
Jones and Santos headlined the stacked UFC 239 fight card at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It was Jones’ second title-retention bid since reclaiming his throne at the 205-pound class last December in his rematch with Alexander Gustafsson.
Jones’ most recent win was against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 while Brazilian challenger, Thiago Santos, is coming off a huge victory at UFC Prague against Jan Blachowicz.
Arguably the most technical fighter in the competition, Jones is billed as the -600 favorite to win the main event bout.
But on Saturday night, Santos came to fight and gave the defending champion a run for his money.
Fighting with a leg injury, ‘Marreta’ showed the heart of a warrior as he was able to put up a gallant stand against Jones.
The scorecards, though, went in Jones favour as he won the five-round war via split decision.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 7, 2019
In the post-fight interview, Jones commended Santos for his toughness and called their fight a “high level chess match.”
“Oh my goodness, boy was he tough. Hey guys, I am so sorry, I know a lot of you guys are booing me right now, but Thiago we all know his best chance of winning was to win by knockout.”
“I played it smart and I brought home this gold.”
“He was just technically a lot more sound than I thought. Thiago Santos is a black belt in Muay Thai.”
“I’m proud of myself actually, I stood and fought with a guy who’s been kick-boxing way longer than me.”
“I felt like I was winning, there’s no need to go for a shot. We were playing a very high level chess match in there.” – (transcript from South China Morning Post)
— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019
Jones’ professional mixed martial arts record now currently stands at 25 wins, one loss, and one no-contest.
Heading to this UFC 239 fight, there were reports that the Nevada-based promotion is working to overturn his lone loss, which came by way of disqualification.
Meanwhile, his fight against Santos was his tenth title defence overall.
The victory will solidify his status as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all-time and will boost his rankings in the pound-for-pound list.
Here are the full results of the UFC 239 Fight Card (via CBS Sports):
Jon Jones def. Thiago Santos via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
Amanda Nunes (c) def. Holly Holm via first-round TKO (head kick)
Jorge Masvidal def. Ben Askren via first-round KO (knee)
Jan Blachowicz def. Luke Rockhold via second-round KO (strikes)
Michael Chiesa def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
🗓️ He’s not lost for 3,500 days.
👊 He’s now got the longest winning streak in UFC history.
🙌 He’s still the light heavyweight champion.
— bet365 (@bet365) July 7, 2019
Arnold Allen def. Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27
Marlon Vera def. Nohelin Hernandez via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Claudia Gadelha def. Randa Markos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Song Yadong def. Alejandro Perez via first-round KO (strike)
(Featured Image Source: UFC/Twitter)