UFC 239 is one for the books now and it was a night to remember. There were a lot of KOs, TKOs, fight bonuses, and records broken but the more important questions is – what is the aftermath of all that? What did this event change in terms of rankings and potential future bouts? We are about to find out!
With the huge attendance of more than 18,000 people and a gate of more than 6 million dollars, this event surely delivered to the fans and a lot of fighters got 50,000USD bonuses behind their impressive KO victories.
Main Event Aftermath
As Jones and Santos squared off for the full 25 minutes in the T-Mobile Arena, crowed seemed to be dissatisfied with the fight. Still, to the true fan it was a game of chess where Jones didn’t really seem to get the edge he usually has over his opponents. Santos executed his gameplan perfectly and was collected and moderate with his approach at all times. That gave Jones a false sense of security which cost him a lot of low calf kicks and a few punch flurries from the Brazilian Sledgehammer.
The downside to the 5-round war, though, is the fact that both men are now injured and Santos is facing a knee operation that will sideline him until January, 2020. Jones, on the other hand, is already picking his next opponent, staying true to his goal of being as active as possible this year.
There are a few things “Bones” hinted at, and the most interesting among them was a superfight with Francis Ngannou at Heavyweight or a closing to the trilogy he already has with the current Heavyweight Champ – Daniel “DC” Cormier. Both these possibilities are exciting but we will have to first wait for the outcoming of the upcoming bout between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic on Aug 18.
Apart from that, the long-lasting feud between Bones and the “Last Stylebender” keeps rising, even though fans aren’t sure that Israel is ready for that yet. Still, that doesn’t stop Jones from firing back at anything Israel throws his way:
As for Thiago Santos, the future is looking very bright, even though he first has to face the recovery of his knee. He certainly made Jones look mortal to a lot of people and a lot of Light Heavyweight contenders took notes that time.
Interesting Fact: This was the first time in Jone’s career where he gets a split decision victory with one of the judges giving the fight to his opponent.
Jones and Santos were two of the highest earners on that event, with “Bones” getting 500,000USD and Santos banking 350,000USD for his main event slot.
The “Extra Necessary” in Askren’s Loss
It is still hard to describe what exactly happened at the bout between the formerly unbeaten Ben Askren and his rival Jorge Masvidal. It is also hard to show any highlight of the fight without showing the whole fight itself.
After KOing Askren in 5 seconds and shocking the MMA community, Masvidal took it to the microphone to explain that trash talking isn’t going to work with him. When confronted about the two extra punches after the ref tried to separate the two men, Masvidal answered with his now cemented quote “They were extra necessary”.
All that led to a lot of uncalled hate towards Askren that, in his defence, explained that he was only trying to hype the fight up. That, he ultimately did, and Masvidal ought to be thankful for it, as he is now in the middle of talks for fighting either for the belt or with the Notorious Conor McGregor.
Masvidal, who is 2-2 in his last 4 fights thinks he is finally worthy of getting paid a little more after cashing in 200,000USD in his UFC239 bout. That can only happen in a few ways, though, and his manager is well-aware of that. This is why he denied rumours about a potential rematch with Ben Askren and has been focused on either Kamaru Usman or McGregor ever since the event.
Ben Askren, on the other hand, is still in the top-10 conversation in the Welterweight category and is still a threat to anyone who doesn’t have a solid plan against him. It would be interesting to see who will the UFC match him up next against, as both he and his team mate Tyron Woodley are coming off a loss and have no matches lined up for them. Woodley will soon be fully recovered from his hand surgery and will be eligible to fight.
While everyone thought the USA Olympic wrestler will feel down and be in bad spirits, Ben surprised everyone with his almost immediate appearance on the Helwani Show. He furthermore tweeted a few tweets which showed that he wasn’t taking the loss as hard as everyone thought:
So, who will the fans ultimately want to see for both of the participants of the quickest fight in UFC History? Will Ben bounce back from this devastating loss or will he decide to retire? Will Masvidal finally get his shot at gold or get a stylistical dream fight with the Irish fighting legend? Only time will tell.
Amanda Nunes and the faith of Women’s MMA
Many people see Nunes’ dominant win over former title holder Holly Holm as an incredible achievement. In reality, it might mean something quite different for women’s Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions.
Now that “The Lioness” has won against all former women champions (Shevchenko twice, Cyborg, Holm, Rousey, and Miesha Tate), there seem to be very few opportunities for her, at least on paper. Logically, the fans want to see a Cyborg rematch but Cyborg has an upcoming fight booked against the undefeated prospect Felicia Spencer. If that fight goes Cyborg’s way, then it will be logical to aim for a rematch between the two most dominant women in UFC’s modern history.
If not, then there is always the option for a third fight with Valentina Shevchenko, who in many people’s eyes won the second fight between them. Three days ago, Germaine de Randamie won her fight against the rising star Aspen Ladd in a controversial manner. That also sets her up for a potential title bout against “The Lioness”.
So, which one of those three fights you think is most likely to happen and why? Let me know down in the comments!
Luke Rockhold’s Chin
Fans all over the world witnessed another devastating KO in which Luke Rockhold was on the receiving end again. After 2 similar KOs in his last three fights, one would think that Luke has learned his lesson and fixed that right hand position but Blachowicz proved everyone that this weak spot has not yet been fixed.
That knockout led to a broken jaw and a possible sideline until the end of the year for the former Middleweight Champion. After moving up to Light Heavyweight, Rockhold seemed far more healthy and motivating and didn’t have to cut too much weight. That gave a lot of fans hope that he will do better and in the opening round Rockhold really did impress with his advanced striking.
Still, having a huge gap in your defence that was exploited by two other people in the last 2 years wasn’t a good idea going against a highly intelligent boxer in the face of Blachowicz.
After the fight, Dana White took it to the microphone to say that he’d want to see Rockhold retire and focus on his modelling business. That sentiment was shared by a lot of Rockhold’s former opponents, most notably Michael Bisping who said that he “feels bad for him”.
Still, would you like to see Rockhold give it another shot and potentially fight another top 10 LHW or would you want to see him retire? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Michael Chiesa and Diego Sanches
There is nothing to add to this bout, really. Everything that Chiesa wanted to show he displayed it in full-force during his three-round domination against the veteran Diego Sanches.
Sanches, who quit his long-time gym at Jackson Wink MMA, walked to the octagon only with his new-found movement coach. Many people credit his loss to the lack of adequate corner advice and poor reaction to Chiesa’s gameplan. Still, he managed to survive a barrage of grappling attacks and submission attempts and went the distance with a very promising contender.
As to Chiesa, it really seems like the best time to do a second fight between him and Kevin Lee at Welterweight, even though Kevin is coming off two losses against Rafael dos Anjos and Al Iaquinta.
One person that is open to a rematch with Diego Sanches is none other than Mickey Gall who suffered a loss to him a few months back and has been looking for payback ever since.
One of the highlights of the preliminary card was the insane knockout victory for team Alpha Male’s prospect – Song Yadong. With a single right hand, he managed to shut the lights off of Alejandro Perez and cement his rise in the organization. Perhaps the next time we see him, he will have a number next to his name. Alpha Male’s founder and head coach Uriah Faber just returned to the octagon with a bang, and after his first round KO he is looking to get a piece of the triple champ Henry Cejudo.
Two other young up and comers that scored wins that night were Claudia Gadelha and Arnold Allen. Both of them will most likely climb up that top 15 ladder and will get a higher ranked opponents for their next bouts. Claudia has claimed that the change of coach staff and focus on sharper striking and better strategy have changed her from a “brawler” to a more advanced MMA fighter.
The focus of the Early Prelims was the win of Edmen Shahbazyan who showed everyone why he will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. He quickly dispatched the veteran Jack Mashman after submitting him in the first round.
With the huge attendance of more than 18,000 people and a gate of more than 6 million dollars, this event surely delivered to the fans and a lot of fighters got 50,000USD bonuses behind their impressive KO victories (Masvidal, Nunes, Blachowicz, Yadong). It also delivered hugely on the ESPN+ numbers, clocking at more than a million live views for the prelims. The most exciting part, though, is the fact that it shook up the rankings in many ways, leaving doors opened for future exciting fights and perhaps one or two upcoming title fights.