Saturday, July 6, 2019

LIVE Round-By-Round Coverage of UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos!

Can’t catch tonight’s latest and greatest MMA spectacular? Don’t worry about it, Holmes … we’re gonna’ keep you in the loop all night long.


By: Jimbo X

To quote Michael Buffer, it is tiiiiimmmmmme for yet another Ultimate Fighting Championship PPV spectacular, and since it’s the annual Fourth-of-July-ish card, you just KNOW this shit’s bound to be bomping.

Oh, we’ve got a good one lined up tonight folks. We’ve got Jon Jones gas-station-hard-on-pills-usin’ ass going toe-to-toe with this Brazilian guy who has a Star of David tattooed over his he-titties, for whatever reason. We’ve got Amanda Nunes looking to pound Holly Holm’s face in, which, let’s face it, probably is a foregone conclusion. And as far as undercard fodder, we’ve got a proverbial who’s who of not-quite-marquee attractions on deck to satiate our thirst for fisticuffing, including the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Luke Rockhold and Gilbert Melendez … and no, you haven’t accidentally been sucked into a time vortex to a Strikeforce show circa 2011, I promise.

But wait a sec. Let’s say you’re one of those unfortunate saps that, for whatever reason, can’t check out UFC 239 this evening. Maybe it’s because you’re too poor to afford the PPV, or you’re computer is so laggy it can’t torrent that shit. Or hell, maybe you’ve collected one too many DUIs and one of the conditions of your probation is you’ve gotta’ avoid hitting up the local Hooters … which you would’ve anyone, because the waitress with the double D’s and cleft chin already filed a restraining order against you months ago. Well, no fears, my friend, because TIIIA has quite the solution — our LIVE, ROUND-BY-ROUND COVERAGE OF UFC 239: JONES VS. SANTOS!

That’s right, we will be here giving you LIVE updates all night long, starting with the prelim matches at 8 p.m. and going on strong all the way until the main event is over. Hell, even if you do plan on watching the PPV, why not keep tabs on our coverage anyway, since we’re all funny and enlightening and shit? Well, you should.

So do us and yourselves a fine favor and go on ahead and bookmark this page, and be sure to hit the refresh button early and often, since we’re going to be updating this sumbitch the second major shit goes down. And hey! Why not be a pal and let all of your fightin’ enthusiast friends know about our free and complimentary service and share our coverage on the Facebooks and the Twitters tonight? Not only will you get good karma points, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get a blowie out of it, too.

PRELIM BOUTS

Bantamweight Bout
Alejandro Perez (21-7-1-0) vs. Song Yadong (13-3-0-2)

Perez, 29, had a pretty good run going, with four consecutive wins over the likes of Iuri Alcantara and Eddie Wineland — only for all that momentum to be erased with a decision loss to Cody Stamann at UFC 235 earlier this year. Tonight, he looks to get back to his winning ways with a victory over Yadong “The Kung Fu Monkey” Song, a 21-year-old China-person currently riding a six fight winning streak, with his latest W being a decision win over Vince Morales in Beijing last November. So basically, it’s Mexico versus China to kickstart the show — which, if you’re a Trump supporter — should make you, like, doubly pissed right now.

Both of these guys look way too similar to be such disparate nationalities. A lot of fists are being thrown, but not a whole lot is connecting early. And then, just like that, Yadong uncorks a goddamn MAMMOTH right hook and Perez is OUT. The official time of the K.O. is just 2:04 of the first. That shit was brutal, ya'll. In the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Yadong screams "HERRO RAS VEGAS, YEOGGHH" and we all have a fine and dandy chuckle.


Apparenty, the UFC has outsourced its prelim fights to the same people who did the CGI for that one World of Warcraft movie.

Women’s Strawweight Bout
Claudia Gadelha (16-4-0-0) vs. Randa Markos (9-6-1-0)

Gadelha has been a model of inconsistency over the last three years, racking up a 3-3 win/loss record over the timeframe. Her last outing in the Octagon resulted in a decision loss to Nina Ansaroff, and tonight she looks to rebound with a victory against Randa Markos, a Canadian-Iraqi fighter whose last three bouts have been a submission win over Angela Hill, a draw against Marina Rodriguez and a decision loss to Nina Ansaraoff. Which, in a bud to nail the MMA trifecta, means tonight’s bout can only end in a no-contest, preferably in the form of one of the competitors testing positive for Viagra or something.

Randa has hair like Ronald McDonald, so I hate her already. She looks visibly smaller than Gadelha, like their might be a 15 or 20 pound weight differential in reality. Jon Anik says he hopes Randa has benefited from hiring a sports psychologist. A lot of circling early, but not a whole lot of contact happening yet. Gadelha is clearly pushing the action at this point. Gadelha hits a nice right uppercut, left hook combo that briefly stuns Randa. Gadelha lands another nice counter. Randa finally lands a solid jab and Gadelha responds with a low kick. Now they're swapping hands hard. They disengage and Gadelha tries to close the gap once more. Randa feints on a Superwoman Punch and lands a hard knee right before the bell sounds.

Round two. Some decent exchanging early, with Gadelha landing a good left hand. "Not a lot is hapening, but what is happening is favoring Claudia," Rogan notes. Randa with a good jab. Gadelha with another good one-two combo. There's another mini exchange, but not one really got anything resembling an upper hand on it. Gadelha whiffs on a leg kick and Randa rushes in, only to back away at the last second. Another tie-up and Randa lands a knee to the jaw on the break-off. Gadelha misses by like, three zip codes, on a high kick. Gadelha lands a solid right. Gadelha shoots for a takedown with about 10 seconds left in the round, but she can't secure it.


Round three. Randa may have won round two on my scorecard. Randa with some good jabbing, but both fighters are being way too conservative here. Randa misses on a lethargic leg kick. "This is not the kind of fight you want to see on ESPN," Joe Rogan said. Well, duh, it has women in it — what did you expect? Gadelha connects on a left hook, then Randa starts throwing uppercuts like crazy. The boo birds start coming out with two minutes left in the fight. Gadelha punches Randa in the shoulder, of all things. Randa goes for a leg kick and Gadelha counters with a good one-two combo. Gadelha with a kick to the stomach, then Randa rushes in for some very ineffective punchs. They untangle from one another, there's about 10 seconds of circling and yep, that's the fight, folks.


Let's hear from the judges, why don't we? Across the board, it's 30-27 for Gadelha. In her post-fight interview, she literally apologizes to Joe for the fight sucking, but all anybody can focus on is that huge-ass mole on the side of her face. Oh well — at least a few people in the crowd cheered when she said "happy birthday" to her mama, at least.


And the throwback to the annual Hall of Fame ceremony induction festivities is my cue to go eat a Gordita Crunchwrap Supreme real quick. Back in a minute, folks.

Bantamweight Bout
Sean O’Malley (10-0-0-0) Nohelin Hernandez (9-2-0-0) vs. Marlon Vera (13-5-1-0)

Since Vera’s original opponent, Sean O’Malley, tested positive for ostarine — which, if I am not mistaken, is a drug that makes your skeleton more powerful — that means the UFC decided to call up this Nohelin Hernandez kid from LFA, who is probably best known for that one time he showed up at Bellator 199 for no real reason whatsoever. Anyhoo, Vera is riding a three-fight win streak, with his last appearance in the cage netting an impressive TKO win over Frankie Saenz … which follows suit on his equally impressive RNC defeat of Guido Cannetti and his body-punch finish of Wuliji Buren at UFC 227. Hopefully, some motherfucka’ gonna’ be knocked out in this one — lord knows their respective fighting styles (I call it Concussion-Fu and CTE Jiu-Jitsu) certainly lend themselves to such sudden and stunning outcomes.

Vera with low kicks early. Looks like he may have clubbed Hernandez on the back of the head with a clubbing overhand shot. Vera still spamming the inside leg-kicks. Vera grabs Hernandez's leg and drags him to the canvas. Vera has Hernandez's back and he's looking for a choke. Vera has a body triangle, but he doesn't have both hooks in yet. Vera has so many tattoos, he looks like a brand new coloring book. Hernandez trying to escape, but Vera ain't letting go of the body triangle. Vera tags Hernandez in the face a coule of times and tagging him with some solid elbow shots. Now it looks like Vera is going for an armbar. He transitions and he's GOT IT. Hernandez fighting like craazy to get out, and he somehow snakes his way out, falls into the full mount and is pounding the shit outta' Vera. He locks in a modified D'arce Choke, but the bell sounds before he can do anything truly dangerous.


Round two. Vera lands a high kick and now Hernandez is landing some solid jabs. Then Hernandez hits a HUGE head kick, although it only staggers Vera for a split second. Hernandez shoots for a takedown and he gets it. Hernandez tries to get in the full mount. He's got it. Vera's doing a good job of defending the ground and pound attempt, though. Hernandez lands a quick elbow shot. Then he follows it up with some VERY hard jabs from the top. Now both men are vertical again. Vera goes for a flying knee, connects on it, and on the mat he flips Hernandez over, he has his back and the RNC is IN, folks! Hernandez holds on for as long as he can, but yep, there's the tap right there.


The official time of the tap was 3:25 of round two. Vera drapes the Ecuadorian flag over Joe during his post-fight interview, and he says things that really make him sound like either a rapist or a drug trafficker ... you know, like Ecuadorians in general, I suppose.


Hey, Chael Sonnen is back in the UFC, this time doing commentary duties. How will Bellator EVER recover?

Featherweight Bout
Gilbert Melendez (22-7-0-0) vs. Arnold Allen (14-1-0-0)

Well, old Gil has an opportunity to do something that is RARELY exhibited in the UFC nowadays — a chance to record his fifth consecutive loss in the Octagon. Aye, we haven’t even seen Melendez in action since Sept. 2017, and the dude hasn’t chalked up a win in the cage since 2013 (and if you want to feel real sorry for him, keep in mind he hasn’t finished an opponent since 2011 — and even then, it was against Tatsuya freakin’ Kawajiri.) Meanwhile, Allen is a hot, up-and-coming 25-year-old striker coming out of England, who’s riding a seven-fight win streak, including a decision win over Jordan Rinaldi back in March. So yeah, I take it the smart money’s on Allen to send Melendez Bellator-bound in a hurry tonight … although, as past Fourth of July mega-shows have proven to us time and time again, pretty much anything can happen once that cage door locks for good.

Bruce Buffer's jacket is so flamboyant, even Liberace is all like "damn, dude, that's pretty gay right there." I don't see any Diazes in Gil's corner, so that's probably for the best. Holy shit, is Allen pale, even for a Limey. Gilbert gets a good two-hit combo to begin. Allen whiffs on a low kick, then he dodges a shit ton of punches from Gil. Allen with some uppercut body shots. Gil with a good right hand shot. Allen slips after delivering a jab. Gil throwing some wild, loopy and molasses slow overhand shots. Allen with more body shots, then he leg trips Gil like a little bitch. Allen with a high kick, but he doesn't really connect. Gil slowing down considerably now. Allen with a hard uppercut to the body and he staggers Gil with a straight jab. Allen with another head kick attempt. Gil shoots for a takedown, but Allen sprawls. Allen with more leg kicks and he connects with a ton of jabs with Gil pressed against the cage. Allen with another high kick. Allen is just chewing Gil up with hard rights. Allen hits a spinning kick to the sternum and one more uppercut to the tummy to conclude the round.


Round two. Allen is definitely controlling the tempo now. He almost takes Gil's head off with a high kick. Allen still having success with the jabs, and Gil just can't seem to tag him. Allen connects with a head kick and Allen unloads a fantastic combination. Allen with a solid one-two combo. Allen with another uppercut to the liver. Gil looks like he's fighting at 0.5 speed at this point. Allen with a low kick and Gil connects on an ineffective knee to the noggin. Allen literally slaps Gil on the back of the head and we all LOL. Allen with back-to-back body kicks and Gil unwisely tries to bait Allen into a shootout. Obviously, Allen gets the better of that particular exchange.


Round three. Yeah, Gil has to finish Allen to win this fight. Allen has Gil pressed against the cage early. Allen EASILY takes Gil down. There's separation and both men are swinging in the middle of the Octagon. Gil goes for a looping jab and Allen clips him on the jaw. Allen working the low kicks again. Gil with some elbows, but of course, they don't come anywhere close to connecting. Allen with more body kicks and a straight jab. Gil's legs look visibly woobly. Allen lands a flying knee and Gil looks ROYALLY fucked. Allen with an elbow shot and another body kick. About a minute to go. Allen lands a good switch kick and thee's a whole bunch of wild swining as the bell sounds.


Let's hear it from the judges. No shocker here —30-27, across the board for Allen. And holy shit, that guy's accent is so thick, I'm not even going to ATTEMPT to translate that shit into decipherable English. This motherfucker makes Pootie-Tang sound like James Earl Jones, ya'll.


Alright, we are coming to you LIVE from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where our hosts are Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Paul Felder. Huh, Felder's a new one to me. They shoot the shit about the main event for awhile and plug an online poker site, which is still an upgrade from them trying to sound excited about the Nunes/Holm co-main.


MAIN CARD BOUTS

Welterweight Bout
Diego Sanchez (29-11-0-0) vs. Michael Chiesa (15-4-0-0)

The fact that 37-year-old Diego Sanchez is still fighting is an amazing testament, second perhaps to the fact that he’s still ALIVE after making his MMA debut all the way back in 2002. Well, hot off his TKO win against Mickey Gall back in March — which, as trivia note, was Sanchez’s first time finishing an opponent since 2008 —“Nightmare” looks to notch up one more stellar, Fourth of July show performance against Michael Chiesa, who was last seen Kimura-ing the fuck out of Carlos Condit in December. Considering how stacked the 170-pound division is, odds are these two will never sniff another championship match-up … which means these two are simply curtain-jerking it for pride, and when that’s the case — especially on the company’s marquee show of the year — it’s just a biological recipe for some heavy exchanges, ya’ll.

Just so you know, instant replay IS in effect for tonight's show, so expect at least one or two REALLY flukey things to happen before the card is over. Chiesa comes out to Nugent's "Stranglehold," while Sanchez comes out screaming with a red towel wrapped over his head. Yep, that's the Sanchez we all know and love right there.


LOL at Sanchez making his mean-spooky-face right in front of Buffer during his introduction. He's LITERALLY foaming at the mouth now. Sanchez with an early takedown and Chiesa immediately locks in bodylock. Chiesa's looking for an armbar, but Sanchez spins out into the full guard. Chiesa is back to his feet, and he Judo tosses Sanchez like a bitch. He crushes Diego against the cage and Diego switches him around. Chiesa still has Sanchez's arms tied up. Chiesa with another facile takedown. Chiesa looking for a RNC. He has a body triangle in, and now he has Diego's back.  He has it locked in, but he manages to escape, somehow. Now Chiesa is UNLOADING elbows on Diego's noggin. Chiesa with another bodylock and Sanchez is in deep, deep dookie. Sanchez rolls out, however, and has a waistlock hooked in. Chiesa reverses it and, yep, he's back in the full mount again. Chiesa is just plain overpowering Sanchez here. Diego literally tries to push Chiesa off him with his feet, but it's all for nought. Chiesa lands a couple of knees from behind as the bell sounds.


Round two. Chiesa takes down Sanchez, who goes for a cheap shot right out the gate. Chiesa looking for a side choke now. Diego is eating some BIG shots on the ground. Sanchez struggling to get to his feet, but Chiesa keeps hammering the hell out of him. Chiesa is just carving Sanchez alive. Chiesa with another easy takedown and now he's folding Sanchez up like a tortilla. Chiesa working from side control now. Diego trying to go for a leg lock, but that ain't happening in a million, billion years. Chiesa twists out of it and he has another body triangle. Chiesa with more punches and Sanchez is flattened out on the canvas. Chiesa hits Sanchez about 40 times, now he's looking for the RNC. BUT SANCHEZ ESCAPES. Diego is up and he has Chiesa's back. He uses a whizzer and he's trying to hip toss him. Chiesa LITERALLY jumps on Sanchez's shoulders and spins him down to the mat. Chiesa with more elbows. He's looking for a kimura, but Diego ESCAPES. Chiesa has Sanchez's back, and he STILL hasn't let go of the kimura. And Sanchez is LITERALLY saved by the bell on that one.


Round three. Chiesa with another facile single-leg takedown. Chiesa has Sanchez in the crucifix position. Chiesa looking for another kimura. Sanchez desperately rolling around on the canvas, but Chiesa just ain't letting go of him. Chiesa with ANOTHER easy takedown and he has another bodylock in. Both men are standing but Chiesa maintains the bodylock. He drags Sanchez to the mat again. Chiesa is just smothering Diego now. About ninety seconds left. Chiesa landing a ton of elbows and he's going for yet another choke. Give Diego some credit, though, 'cause he ain't going out easy. Chiesa holds onto Sanchez and goes for one more rear naked choke he ain't going to get, and yep, that's the fight, folks.


An obvious decision here — 30-26 across the board for Chiesa. That means all three judges scored EVERY single round 10-8 for him. In the post-fight interview, Chiesa says he wants a fight against a top 10 ranked opponent, but doesn't have anybody in mind. Then he asks Joe if he can get tickets to his upcoming show in Portland. Har-har.


Just so you know, Halle Berry, Dwight Howard, Francis Ngannou AND Henry Cejudo are all in the house tonight. And, of course, nobody pops for ANY of them when the camera pans across them.

All I can say is GOTDAMN.
Light Heavyweight Bout
Jan Blachowicz (23-8-0-0) vs. Luke Rockhold (16-4-0-0)

Like everybody else, I had forgotten that Luke Rockhold was EVER the UFC Middleweight Champion — aye, I guess the fact he was boning Demi Lovato for awhile was WAY more memorable. Tonight, the former Strikeforce champ looks to rebound from his knockout loss to Yoel Romero in February with a victory over Jan Blachowicz (pronounced “Jan,” by the way), who himself is still smarting from a TKO loss to Thiago Santos earlier this year. Alas, we’ll see if a dominant victory here propels either men to the upper pantheon of Light Heavyweight contenders — but considering how watered down the 205 division is these days, a stellar knockout win tonight may indeed be enough to earn one of those fellas a date with a championship contest, perhaps sooner rather than later.

Holy shit, do I love Megan Olivi's mom pants. I don't know who does Rockhold's entrance music, but it is some wack white boy shit, alright. Meanwhile, Jan comes out to "House of the Rising Son," which TOTALLY isn't overused as an MMA theme or anything. What's a matter, Jan, couldn't find your copy of "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor?"


Luke with a high kick early. Now Jan is returning the favor. Luke shoots for a takedown, but he isn't getting it right away.  In fact, Jan is doing a good job of holding steady on defense. Luke FINALLY drags Jan to the ground, but Jan is right back up to his feet. Jan eats a big elbow, then Luke kicks Jan in the breadbasket. Luke with more knees, then Jan fucking PLASTERS Luke with an elbow shot. Jan finally gets separation and Luke lands the left head kick. Jan pushes forward with some hard jabs and Luke backpedals. Jan with a leg kick  and the two exchange whiffed high kicks. Luke whiffs on another high kick and Jan pops him real quick. Jan ALMOST takes Luke's head off with a high kick RIGHT at the bell.


Round two. Looks like that last high kick may have been after the bell, but ref Herb Dean says that's a buncha' bullshit. Luke with a good one-two combo and then Jan fires back with a combo of his own. Jan is landing a ton of low kicks now. Luke shoots for a takedown, but Jan does a tremendous job defending against it. AND JAN FUCKING DROPS LUKE WITH A HARD LEFT JUST LIKE THAT! Holy shit, that was BEAUTIFUL.

The time off the stoppage was 1:39 of round two. That HAS to be the Knockout of the Night right there — pretty much the only way to outdo that is to risk a voluntary manslaughter charge. Trust me, folks, we are going to be seeing this one on the highlight reels for YEARS.

Forget it ... we'll never see anything this great in the Octagon again until they start letting fighters bring swords and shit into the cage.
Welterweight Bout
Jorge Masvidal (33-13-0) vs. Ben Askren (19-0-0-1)

Masvidal, 34, has been fighting professionally for 16 years, which is pretty astounding, because most UFC guys who have been around that long usually end up abandoning the sport for the more lucrative career of living in a van down by the river and selling methamphetamine until Bellator calls ‘em up for a freak show fight payday that can sometimes be in the high triple digits. The ex-Strikeforce standout has had more ups than downs as of late, going 4-2 in his last six boots, complete with knockout victories over the likes of Darren Till, Donald Cerrone and Jake Ellenberger. Of course, ten-year veteran Askren remains undefeated in MMA, and after his controversial (read: totally bullshit) win over Robbie Lawler in March, he CERTAINLY looks to put on a more impressive outing against one of the welterweight division’s most vaunted and venerated gatekeepers. The only question now is, will Masvidal give the former Bellator champ easy passage to title consideration, or is he destined to slam that door on Askren’s bush-headed ass until he’s unconscious?

Askren comes out to "We've Got the Funk," while Jorge comes out to the theme song from "Scarface." Well, at least in terms of walkout themes, I think it's safe to say Masvidal landed a KO of the century candidate on this one.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT, MASVIDAL RUNS OUT THE GATE, HITS A FLYING KNEE FROM HELL AND ASKREN IS OUT COLD! THIS THING IS OVER AND DONE WITH IN FIVE SECONDS, MOTHERFUCKER!

Even better, in the post-fight Masvidal was STILL talking mad shit about Askren, saying he tried to break his skull because he was "a bum." Of course, he then goes on to thank Jesus and demands a title shot after doing this shit for 16 years. Well, whatever hapens in Jorge's life from now on, he will FOREVER be a legend for this one. Not only is it Askren's first loss, I'm pretty sure that's the quickest knockout in UFC history. Regardless, there's only one thing I can say about this ... GOT. DAM.

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout
Amanda Nunes (17-4-0-0) vs. Holly Holm (12-4-0-0)

Riding a phenomenal eight-fight winning streak, Amanda Nunes can legitimately lay claim to being the greatest female MMA fighter of all-time — I mean, she’s the only person in history to beat BOTH Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey … and in less than a friggin’ minute EACH TIME. On the flip side, Holly Holm has had a VERY inconsistent record as of late, going just 2-4 in her last six fights, with her latest victory in the Octagon a decision win over Megan Anderson more than a year ago. So, yeah, the smart money is on Nunes to wear that ass out, but then again, it’s not like Holm is legendary for pulling off any historic upsets or anything like that, is she?

Holm comes out Led Zeppelin, so I want her to lose already. Meanwhile, Nunes comes out looking like the Puerto Rican character actor who shivs the evil warden at the end of every women-in-prison movie ever made. So yeah, I guess you can figure out who I think is going to win this 'un, huh?


Holm keeping her distance. Holly tags Amanda as she goes for an inside leg kick. Now Nunes is chasing. Nunes with a high kick, but Holm blocks it. Nunes whiffs on a huge overhand. Nunes working some nice knees to the body. She gets the leg trip, but Holm is right back up. The fans are solidly behind Holly in this one. Nunes with a great combo, but she whiffs ona  bodykick. NUNES LANDS A HEAD KICK, HOLM COLLAPSES, THE CHAMP LANDS SEVERAL PUNCHES ON THE GROUND AND THE REF WAVES IT OFF!

The official time of the stoppage is 4:10 of the very first round. "Tonight, I beat her, and I am very happy," Nunes tells Joe Rogan in the post-fight interview. Shit, they pretty much HAVE to book her against a man for her next fight, don't they?

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout
Jon Jones (24-1-0-1) vs. Thiago Santos (21-6-0-0)

At this point, everytime Jon Jones sets foot in the cage it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s going to walk out of the Octagon the victor. Yes, he’s had some close bouts in the past, but outside of the fight against Alexander Gustafsson and maybe the first rounds against Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, Jones has never really been in trouble in a UFC fight before. Which, naturally, raises the question — what exactly can a man who got knocked out by Vicente Luque and David Branch and subbed by Cezar Ferreira and freakin’ Eric Spicely do against a man who has LITERALLY defeated an entire decade’s worth of Hall of Famers without seemingly breaking a sweat? Even if Santos has back-to-back-to-back stoppage wins over the likes of Jan Blachowicz, Jimi Manuwa and Eryk Anders, you have to think Jones is going to be the COLOSSAL favorite heading into this one. Indeed, it seems like just one of two things can happen here — either Jones is going to do what Jones does (and no, that’s NOT fail a drug test … yet) or Santos is about to score the single greatest upset in MMA history. Of course, we won’t be able to know which outcome that is until the fight itself happens — which, what do you know, is soon upon us ...

Santos marches to the ring all stoically-like, while this Brazilian-rapping bullshit plays over the PA system. Jones gets the lights-out treatment, as he's serenaded to a mash-up of "We are the Champions" and "The Champ is Here." Also, Herb Dean is the ref, so at least one of these men will have to be legally brain-dead before a stoppage happens.

Good lord, Santos has a grotesquely swollen stomach. Jones whiffs on a low kick early. Santos rattles off a few whiffs of his own in response. Oh shit, he wobbled Jones with a leg kick. Jones with another leg kick. Santos with another inside leg kick. Santos whiffs on a spinning kick. Jones catches the leg and just BARELY misses on a spinning elbow. Jones just misses on another high kick. Santos pushes forward with a combo, but he hits nothing but air. Santos with a good combo, and Jones' mouthpiece goes flying. The ref briefly stops the action so Jones can pick it back up. Santos lands an uppercut and a good one-two combo. Jones whiffs on a spinning kick. Santos catches him with another jab. Jones with a spinning kick. Final thirty seconds. Jones just barely misses on a head kick to end the round.

Round two. Santos with a front kick, then he hurts himself on a front kick. Santos with an opportunistic swarm, but he can't land anything too damaging on Jones. Jones with a leg kick. Jones trying to close the distance now. Santos lands a head kick, but Jones blocks it with his right hand. Jones with a good right jab. Santos responds with a body kick. Jones drops Santos with a beautiful body kick. Santos, however, is right back up. Looks like Santos royally fucked up his left knee. Jones with another kick to the sternum. Santos with a great combo, and he connects on a head kick. Jones isn't slowing down, though. Jones with another body kick and Santos whiffs on a spinning kick. Jones with back to back roundhouse kicks to close the round, although he catches nothing but air on both attempts.

Round three. Santos throwing a ton of body kick, but nothing's really connecting. Santos goes for a huge head kick, but Jones blocks the shot. Jones with a leg kick and at this point, Santos is actually outstriking the defending champ. Santos with a FEROCIOUS combo, but Jones no sells it. Jones sends Santos crashing to the mat with a leg kick, and Jones goes for a flying knee. Santos blocks most of it, it appears. Jones trying to close the gap again. Jones with a NASTY leg kick. Santos with a leg kick of his own and some bombs that just BARELY miss. Santos slips on a head kick attempt and now he's bleeding bad. Jones with a heel kick to the ribs and another elbow that just barely misses his foe's head. Jones with another side kick, then another head kick. Santos with a flurry, but Jones easily avoids it. Santos with more leg kicks and Jones misses on a spinning elbow. Jones throws one more knee to close out the round.

Round four. Santos' corner hasn't even tried to ice his knee yet. That's Brazil for you, right there. Santos tags Jones a couple of times, but the champ shakes it off. Jones with another kick to the stomach. Jones ALMOST lands a wheel kick to the noggin. Jones goes back to the leg kicks. Santos still looking for the home run shot, but Jones keeps pushing him into the cage. Jones ALMOST connects on a huge uppercut. Jones with more leg kicks and heels to the patella. Jones misses on a spinning elbow. Jones with more knee kicks. Santos still trying to push forward, and Jones lands a Superman punch. Santos back pedals a little and the challenger whiffs on a cartwheel kick as the bell sounds.

Round five. Well, Jones definitely won rounds three and four, but there's a possibility Santos could've taken rounds one and two. So that means, of course, whoever wins THIS round will probably win the whole dadgum matchup. Santos lands a body kick and throws a wild flurry of punches. Joe Rogan keeps saying he has a torn ACL, because apparently, that nigga' got X-Ray vision. Santos still throwing some mean inside leg kicks. Santos lands a leg kick and ALMOST clips Jones. I'll say this, I had NO IDEA Jon had a chin this solid. Jones with more side kicks and another body shot with his heel. Jones wobbles Santos with a leg kick, and Santos looks like he's about to topple. Jones with a body kick and we've got ninety seconds left. Santos throws a WILD barrage of punches but Jones just shakes it off. Thirty seconds left. Santos gets dropped by a leg kick. Neither men really feel like doing too much, and an otherwise exhilerating fight ends sans any of the usual fireworks you'd expect from these two.

We go to the judges' scorecards. It's 48-47 Santos, 48-47 Jones and 48-47 ... Jones.

The fans boo Jon Jones, who responds by saying, effectively, "shit, don't hate me for fighting like a non-retard." Joe asks Jon why he didn't try to take Santos down, and he replies by saying why did he have to when he was out-kicking a Muay Thai black belt? He also promises to to do better in his next title defense, which, yeah, seems like a really tall order, actually.

Joe then interviews Santos through a translator. His response is literally three minutes long and way too boring to recap here. Meanwhile, Jones' trainers have to carry him back to the locker room, while Anik casually brings up this is the first time ANYBODY has ever beaten Jones on a scorecard. So, yeah ... expect a rematch, soon.

Because fuck sportsmanship, that's why.

Alright, that's all I've got for now. I'll be back in the morning with a few closing thoughts on the show, but to sum things up — holy goddamn fucking shit, what a night of fights. Now get some sleep, why don't you?

SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Although Dana W. said he ain't interested, I think a Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos rematch is inevitable. I mean, it's not like there's anybody else in the LHW division who poses a genuine threat to Jones' title at the moment, and tonight's outing was certainly more entertaining than the last two matches against Cormier. As for Amanda Nunes, shit, at this point she hasn't just cleaned out the women's bantamweight division, she's practically douched it with ultra-strength vinegar. Hell, why not let her strive to become the first triple-title-holder in UFC history and book her against Valentina Shevchenko at 125? Personally, I'd love to see Jorge Masvidal go toe-to-toe next with Tyron Woodley, and as soon as he wakes up from his vegetative state, I think a tilt against Vicente Luque is a plum natural fit for Ben Askren. Following his blistering KO of Luke Rockhold, I reckon the best option for Jan Blachowicz is a re-do against Anothony Smith — which, at this juncture, might as well be considered a No. 1 contender's match for the 205-pound strap. And speaking of Rockhold, how about booking him against Johnny Walker as soon as he can remember what his date of birth is?

THE VERDICT? This was an outstanding show from start to finish. The prelims delivered, the PPV undercard was utterly fantastic and to cap off the whole shindig, we had the best Light Heavyweight Championship bout in, geez, I'm guessin' four or five years now. Yes, there were some doldrums here and here, but on the whole? This is absolutely everything you could want out of a marquee, summertime PPV — something tells me we'll definitely be batting this one around when it comes time to name a Show of the Year for 2019.

SHOW HIGHLIGHT: Getting the back-to-back K.O. of the Century candidates from Jan Bloachowicz and Jorge Masvidal.

SHOW LOWLIGHT: The Gadelha/Markos bout was indeed quite the snoozer.

ROGAN-ISM OF THE NIGHT: "This is not the kind of fight you want to see on ESPN" — Joe on that utterly uneventful Gadelha/Markos bout.

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM TONIGHT'S SHOW:

— If a Chinese man and a Mexican man throw punches at the same time, basic physics indicate the Chinese man's fist is gravitationally destined to land first.

— The head of Diego Sanchez's training camp is apparently Wimp Lo from Kung Pow: Enter The Fist.

— You can cure NCAA-championship-caliber wrestling with a patella to the forehead.

— When it comes to women's MMA, the best base discipline is lesbianism.

— Not only is fighting a 20-minute battle against the best fighter in history on a torn ACL a good idea, it's good enough to get you the dub on at least one score card.

Well, that's all I've got for you this week. Crank up "Let's Work" by Trick Trick and "Hip Hop Died" by Skillz, and I'll be seeing you cageside in just a few.

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