Can Thiago Santos Shock the MMA World on Saturday Night?

Giancarlo Aulino
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@Gian_411

Friday, July 5, 2019


Las Vegas, NV--- The UFC bring their annual International Fight Week festivities back to Las Vegas for an entire week of fan events, press conferences, and weigh-ins culminating with a stacked UFC 239 card featuring arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Jon Jones, who defends his UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship in the main event against the challenger, Thiago Santos.

 

Jones has been quite active since serving his USADA suspension; he defeated Alexander Gustaffson to become UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion for the third time and defending his newly won title in March, when he defeated Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith by unanimous decision at UFC 235.

 

Jon Jones comes into this fight as the heavy favourite and rightfully so; he’s a three time Light-Heavyweight champion and has only lost the title as a result of suspensions as opposed to losing it in the octagon. Jones has also defeated some of the greatest fighters in UFC history, so his track record and experience in big fights give him the edge heading into UFC 239.

 

Thiago Santos is an interesting opponent because of his fighting style and the threat he poses to all his opponents whether it’s at middleweight or light-heavyweight. Santos is a Muay Thai fighter that possesses powerful kicks and strikes that are fully capable of knocking the champion out and shocking the MMA world. Santos is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, so he’s able to adjust if the fight goes to the ground.

 

The 35-year-old Brazilian has had a unique path to a title-shot with Jones; he competed in the middleweight division as recent as last year, where he defeated the highly touted up-and-comer Kevin Holland and even has a second round TKO victory over Anthony Smith, who recently challenged Jones in March.

 

In fact, 15-out-of-21 of Santos’ victories have come by way of knockout or TKO, so he’s an exciting fighter that doesn’t waste anytime and looks for a finish. Santos’ style could make Jones hesitate a little when it comes to his combinations because all Santos needs is one powerful strike to change the complexion and landscape of the UFC’s Light-Heavyweight division.

 

Jones will likely use his wrestling in this fight as a way to tire out the challenger and put him in an uncomfortable position and Santos is likely to use his striking ability which got him to the main event of a big UFC PPV. One thing that is for certain is that fans are in for an exciting fight when Jones and Santos meet in the octagon for the main event of UFC 239.

 

On Friday, I had the pleasure of joining Steve Carney on 95.3 WDAE in Tampa, Florida,  to preview UFC 239. We discussed if Jon Jones could move up to heavyweight, whether Thiago Santos can dethrone Jones, Amanda Nunes, Masvidal vs Askren, Conor McGregor, and much more. 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: UFC (@ufc) 

Audio Credit: Ron & Ian 95.3 WDAE | Tampa Bay's Sports Radio (iHeartRadio)