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UFC 239: In his toughest fight to date, Jon Jones barely beats Thiago Santos to retain his Light Heavyweight Title

Normally, there is controversy afoot when talking about Jon Jones and his upcoming fights. Whether it be him having to back out of events due to performance-enhancing drugs or something going on weeks after his bouts, there is always something to talk about. Leading up to UFC 239, it was the quietest it has ever been for a “Bones” Jones fight. It took up until the very end of his fight against Thiago Santos for there to be some sort of controversy.

In a hard-fought bout, Jones (25-1, 1NC) defeated Santos (21-7) via split decision to retain his Light Heavyweight Title. The judges, who were all over the place, scored the contest 48-47, 48-47, 47-48. Jones, a Rochester native, was concerned when he first heard Santos won on a judges scorecard, as he thought he had it in the bag. When Bruce Buffer announced “and still”, a sigh of relief was brought on by Jones, who was in the fight of his life.

It is hard to argue that Santos won rounds one and two. It was right as the match began when Santos seemingly tore something in his left knee. It didn’t stop him from spinning, kicking and gliding his way throughout the fight. Jones, who’s leg was getting sore thanks to that very left leg of Santos, did not go to his ground game throughout the entire bout, something that is his trademark.

Round three saw Jones return to form. Following a few heavy shots to the face of Jones, Santos was reeling after a few Jones comeback strikes. While slowing the pace down, Jones managed to dig deep and show why he is the champion. Unlike the Anthony Smith fight, Jones was not toying with Santos.

The amount of patience Jones had was astounding, and just in the nick of time.

Rounds three and four were easily Jones’, but round five was where it really counted. The two traded shots, one harder than the next. With the crowd in awe, the announcers were trying to figure out how both were still going with busted knees. From every viewpoint, Jones looked to have lost the round, but not everyone agreed.

As stated before, the judges had a wild time scoring the contest.

Once again, Jones defends his title. This time around, however, he survived a war against a killer in Santos. Jones is ready for a December fight, but against who? Whether it be Santos again (Dana White and Jones rejected the case) or Jones moving up to heavyweight, time is on his side.

In survival mode, this was almost a human version of Jon Jones compared to what we are used to seeing. It made for a fight that felt different, like there was something worth fighting for. Winning the crowd over once again, Jones can now cross another name off of his list. In the end, it is another wild moment for the Light Heavyweight Champion.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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