‘Brutal’ five-second KO creates history
Live: UFC 239
Jon Jones def Thiago Santos (SD)
Amanda Nunes def Holly Holm (TKO)
Jorge Masvidal def Ben Askren (KO)
Jan Blachowicz def Luke Rockhold (KO)
Michael Chiesa def Diego Sanchez (UD)
A crowd scuffle between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Nate Diaz, Luke Rockhold's hellish 205-pound debut, Jorge Masvidal's murder of Ben Askren and Amanda Nunes' latest chapter of greatness - UFC 239 was one for the books.
And that was all before Jon Jones continued to press his GOAT claims with a successful title defence against Thiago Santos.
Jones' closest fight in years
Jon Jones escaped with a split decision in a too-close-for-comfort victory against a basically one-legged Thiago Santos.
One judge gave the fight to the Brazilian 48-47 but the other two had Jones ahead 48-47.
"Oh my goodness, boy was he tough," Jones said. "I played him smart and I brought home this gold for my family and my team."
Santos was badly hampered by an injury to his left knee which limited his ability to plant it to throw right kicks and his movement from rounds two to five.
He fought on valiantly and showcased the power that saw him charge up the division, but Jones displayed exceptional defence and an ability to take a punch to limit the damage.
The champ was actually assisted out of the arena after taking heavy shots to his legs, but Santos was banged up too. Let's run it back again soon.
No one can stand with Nunes
Amanda Nunes is untouchable.
The greatest female fighter in UFC history added another big-name scalp in spectacular fashion by kicking Holly Holm's head like it was a football.
Nunes needed just over four minutes to defend her bantamweight crown for the fourth time as Holm left herself wide open for a right head kick. Follow up ground-and-pound was barely necessary.
The Brazilian, who also holds the 145-pound belt after dethroning Cris Cyborg, has now won nine fights in a row including wins against MMA legends Valentina Shevchenko, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. She's so dominant there's no real logical opponent next, although rematches with Cyborg and Shevchenko - who holds the flyweight championship - are options.
Amanda Nunes stoppage UFC wins:— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) July 7, 2019
de Randamie (TKO)
You won't see a resume like this in the women's game in a long time. This is historic levels of greatness.
Holm's record since she stunned the world by defeating Rousey in Melbourne in 2015 is now 2-5 and her days of competing for belts look done.
Masvidal's five-second KO creates history
Jorge Masvidal has stunned UFC fans - and may well have ended Ben Askren's career - with one of the most savage knockouts ever seen.
After the buzzer sounded to begin their welterweight fight, Masvidal sprinted across the cage and launched off the ground. Askren, a renowned grappler, dropped his head to attempt a take-down but lowered his dome in the perfect position to receive a flying knee.
He was knocked immediately unconscious but copped two more heavy right hands to the head before referee Jason Herzog jumped in. "That is a brutal, brutal knockout," commentator Joe Rogan said.
Masvidal got right up in Askren's face and trash-talked his victim before falling to the ground with a mock knockout to rub further salt in the wound.
Bringing oxygen in for Askren— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 7, 2019
Asked why he chose the flying knee, Masvidal said: "Because he's a bum. That dude was talking wild. I had to show him that there's consequences sometimes. There's some bad motherf***ers out there and you don't want to wake them up. You should have kept your mouth shut. I probably would have beat you up in the second round. You guys are welcome for ending that dude."
Mike brown and masvidal told me last night at dinner he was gonna Start this fight with a flying knee and showed me video on Mike's phone of him practicing— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) July 7, 2019
Askren has ruffled more than a few feathers since joining the UFC this year and his critics will celebrate this result.
It gives Masvidal back-to-back finishes against Darren Till and Askren and firmly puts him in the title conversation. Askren may want to reconsider his future.
Rockhold sent to the shadow realm
Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold's career is in free fall after he was savagely knocked out in his 205-pound debut by Jan Blachowicz.
Rockhold began confidently throwing a series of heavy kicks but Blachowicz quickly earned his respect, landing a heavy elbow in the clinch before rocking the Californian with a head kick as the buzzer sounded to end the first round.
Referee Herb Dean ruled Blachowicz had begun the kicking motion before the buzzer so he wasn't penalised, but the damage was done.
Rockhold didn't look the same in the early stages of the second round before being floored by a huge left hook. Dean was slow on the stoppage and a semiconscious Rockhold ate two or three more shots to the head.
Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, a teammate of Rockhold's, was shattered.
This sport sucks!!!!— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) July 7, 2019
Rockhold looked as good as anyone in the sport after winning the 185-pound title against Chris Weidman in late 2015, before being stunned by Michael Bisping in his first defence.
After a long absence he recorded a win against David Branch before being knocked out by Yoel Romero in February, 2018. Another long stint on the sidelines finally ended tonight - but it wasn't the return Rockhold was looking for.
Blachowicz had put together a four-fight winning streak before being stopped by main event fighter Thiago Santos earlier this year. But his rise up the rankings will resume after this stunner.
Chiesa dominates Diego Sanchez
Michael Chiesa is eyeing a top 10 fight at welterweight after putting on a clinic against UFC warhorse Diego Sanchez.
Chiesa, in his 170-pound debut, dominated on the ground and was given the nod 30-26 by all three judges.
A year ago on the IFW card, Chiesa was fighting with a broken foot, embarrassed because he missed weight and lost to Pettis. What a difference a year makes now that he is at 170. Dominant win over Sanchez.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 7, 2019
Khabib, Nate clash in crowd
UFC stars Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov clashed in the crowd near the Octagon during UFC 239.
Moments before the Gilbert Melendez-Arnold Allen fight on the undercard, security and Las Vegas Police were spotted jumping over a barricade to break up a scuffle.
Fan vision of the incident revealed it was Diaz, who appeared to direct some words in the direction of Nurmagomedov's camp before being moved away by security.
My buddy who is there sent me this. pic.twitter.com/Tu390X194s— Brian Trumps (@BTrumps) July 7, 2019
Preliminary card: results
Arnold Allen defeated Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Marlon Vera defeated Nohelin Hernandez via submission (rear-naked choke) - R2, 3:25
Claudia Gadelha defeated Randa Markos via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Song Yadong defeated Alejandro Perez via KO (punch) - R1, 2:04
Edmen Shahbazyan defeated Jack Marshman via submission (rear-naked choke) - R1, 1:12
Chance Rencountre defeated Ismail Naurdiev via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-28)
Julia Avila defeated Pannie Kianzad via unanimous decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)
'Holy smokes': Knockout stuns UFC
The UFC 239 prelims delivered some stunning upsets and stoppages to kick the event off with a bang.
Rising star Song Yadong stole the show with a stunning one punch knockout that dropped Alejandro Perez two minutes into the first round.
Yadong's brutal right hand from hell snapped Perez's six-fight win streak and also put the 21-year-old among the list of youngest fight winners in the promotion's history.
The Chinese fighter is now a perfect 4-0 since joining the UFC.
His right hand landed flush on Perez's chin and left him immediately unconscious. He followed it up with a ground punch before referee Herb Dean could stop the fight - but it was clear to all involved that Perez was never getting back up to his feet.
The stoppage was declared by some to the second most brutal knockout the UFC has ever seen.
Holy smoke what a KO by Song Yadong! One punch and, as they used to say on Batman, Kapow! Perez went down like a shot from that right hand. Yikes— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 7, 2019
Earlier, Edmen Shahbazyan completely bullied Jack Marshman in a 72-second stoppage victory and Chance Rencountre stunned Ismail Naurdiev to pull off one of the biggest upsets seen in the UFC recently.
Shahbazyan eventually ended Marshman when he forced his opponent to tap out from a rear naked choke.
First time in Holm’s MMA career that she’s been KO’d. Only the second time she’s been stopped. Last time she was KO’d was 2011 in boxing vs. Anne Mathis.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 7, 2019
From what I’ve gathered, it was Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Not confirmed. Whoever did the seating arrangements to put them that close to each other wasn’t too bright.— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) July 7, 2019
Doesn't sound like there's much (if anything) to the Nate, Khabib (!!) stuff. Ali Abdelaziz, Khabib's manager, tells me Nate walked by, directed some words towards the camp and security removed him quickly. Member of Nate's team also indicated there was not much to it.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 7, 2019
There's a reason Urijah Faber is incredibly high on Song Yadong. My goodness, that was nasty. 4-0 in the UFC at age 21. #UFC239— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) July 7, 2019
Song Yadong scores a highlight reel KO over Alex Perez in the opening round of their bantamweight fight! That's the kind of performance UFC had in mind when the booked the 21-year-old to the ESPN prelims of this event. Team Alpha Male member takes advantage of the opportunity!— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 7, 2019
Ummm... did any of y'all just see that knockout?! Yadong literally sent that boy to Beijing and back with that punch! Worse knockout I've seen since Overeem got his head lifted off by Francis! Wow! #ufc239 #boyisforreal— Jarrin Solomon,OLY (@Jpump44) July 7, 2019
Song Yadong, just 21 years old, is the second youngest fighter in the UFC. He is only the second bantamweight in UFC history with a first-round knockout at age 21 or younger. Michael McDonald did that twice. (@ESPNStatsInfo)— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) July 7, 2019
Edmen Shahbazyan just sent Jack Marshman packing. Man. Not even a contest. That looked like little brother, big brother stuff. Marshman had no shot, and he came in with 3x more experience. Impressive Shahbazyan continues to prove he's a legit prospect.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 6, 2019