Jon Jones Narrowly Defeats Thiago Santos By Split Decision At UFC 239

Jon Jones successfully defended his light-heavyweight title yet again tonight at UFC 239, but only by split decision against the always dangerous Thiago Santos.

Round One:

The main event light-heavyweight title fight is underway in Las Vegas!

Jones commands the center of the Octagon and whiffs with a leg kick, but then does land one. Santos returns fire with a hard one of his own though.

Another hard leg kick for Santos knocks Jones off-balance. That definitely made an impact. However, Jones lands a solid leg kick of his own. Now one to the body.

Inside leg kick for Santos. He misses with a head kick and a spinning kick too. Jones with a side kick. He catches a kick from Santos and presses forward then changes into a spinning elbow attack that just grazes past the Brazilian.

Another low leg kick for Santos connects well. Head kick attempt from Jones, but it’s blocked. Santos comes forward with punches but doesn’t land. He does connect with a calf kick though.

A three-piece combo from Santos and it knocks Jones mouthpiece out forcing a brief stoppage.

Back to it they go. Nice side kick to the leg from Jones. However, then Santos lands punches to threaten Jones. He lands an even better one just afterwards and definitely has Jones attention here.

Side kick to the leg from Jones again and just misses counter punches from Santos. Spinning kick to the body for Jones. Leg kick for Santos.

leg kick for Jones. Jones stalking Santos and then throws a spinning head kick that just grazes Santos’ head as the round ends.

Round Two:

Santos misses a front kick, but then lands a low leg kick. He appears to hurt himself in the process though and staggers backwards. He then comes blitzing forward with punches though to show that he’s not too badly hurt. Time will tell though.

Inside leg kick for Jones. Leg kick for Santos too, not as hard as before though. Body punch from Santos. He just comes up short with a hook and then tries a head kick that’s blocked.

Leg kick from Santos, but he seems uncomfortable again afterwards. Jab for Jones. Body kick from Santos, but misses on his follow-up punches.

Big kick from Jones and Santos seems to lose his balance at the same time and falls, but then gets back up.

Leg kick for Jones. Front kick upstairs from Jones is partially blocked. Body strike for Santos. Jones missed a punch and Santos returns fire with a series of good punches.

Front kick to the body for Jones. Side kick to the leg from Jones. Spinning kick attempt from Santos. Jones tries two spinning kicks in short order, but both come up short and that’s the final action of the round.

Round Three:

Spinning kick from Santos misses. Glancing body kick from him. Head kick just misses and no more. leg kick to the thigh from Jones.

Inside leg kick for Santos. Body kick for the Brazilian. Santos stumbles slightly – another sign of potential knee damage.

Santos with a three-piece combo but Jones takes it well. Jones lands with a big elbow and drops Santos, but he gets straight back up.

Jones rockets into a flying knee attempt, but though it partially connects he goes right over the top of Santos and then falls to the mat. He gets back up again and they go back to striking range.

Two hard leg kicks from Jones. Jab for Santos. Inside leg kick for Santos and a couple of punches behind it. Another leg kick and then a head kick attempt from Santos, but it misses and he falls afterwards.

Back up and a Jones elbow has Santos cut high on his head. Good kick upstiars from Jones. Side kick to the thigh and then one to the body. Another head kick attempt is blocked. Side kick to the leg. Jones gaining a lot of momentum here.

Santos tries to come forward landing punches, but comes up short. Another kick from Jones. Calf kick for Santos.

Inside leg kick for Santos. Jones steps into a spinning elbow and it just misses.

Round Four:

Inside leg kick from Santos. Now he charges forward with punches as Jones turns his back a little, but he doesn’t really land cleanly and the champion gets out of danger.

Spinning kick to the body from Jones. Wheel kick from Jones just whistles past his opponent’s head. Now a side kick to the leg. Another kick lands to the leg. Body kick from Santos.

Santos knee buckles a little as he backs up. Leg kick for Santos nonetheless. Body kick for the Brazilian too. Inside leg kick for Santos, but it’s checked by Jones.

Jones just misses with a huge uppercut. Nice leg kick for Jones and a punch for Santos. Side kick to the leg from Jones.

Spinning backfist attempt from Jones misses. Brief lull in the action. Inside leg kick for Santos. Side kick to the body from Jones.

Head kick attempt from Jones just grazing past Santos’ head. Superman punch attempt from the champ. leg kick to the thigh for Santos, but then visibly seems to struggle for a moment from the suspected injury knee. He’s looking for a capoeira kick as the round ends, but pulls out of it.

Round Five:

Big body kick for Santos to start the fifth round. Big hooks for Santos and Jones has to cover up. Wheel kick attempt from Jones misses.

Body kick for Jones. Inside leg kick for Santos. High kick from Jones. Nice left hand for Santos and then a big kick and another punch.

Body kick from Santos. Leg kick for Jones. Now a jab. Side kick to the leg for Jones. Now a side kick to the body. Inside leg kick from Santos, but it’s checked.

Santos’ leg buckles again. Jones lands to the inside leg. Santos lands the leg kick and his knee buckles once again.

Body kick for Santos. Nice side kick to the leg for Jones and then a punch. Santos charges forward and lands a solid left hand.

Jones with a front kick to the upper body that’s partially caught. Santos tries for a kick, but loses balance and has to pick himself up off the mat.

Jones with a side kick to the leg again. Jab for Jones. Santos looking to set something up, but Jones backs away and leaves this one to the judges.

Decision:

Really close fight then and there’s nervous moments for the champion Jones as the verdict is read out as it’s a split decision ruling, but two judges side with him to ensure he emerges victorious (48-47 x2, 47-48).

Jones fought more cautiously than usual here and that almost cost him dearly on the scorecards, while Santos was unlucky that apparent knee damage seemed to hamper his performance and strategy to an extent in the later rounds.

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