With a split decision win over Thiago "Sledgehammer" Santos, Jon "Bones" Jones managed to hang onto his title Saturday at UFC 239 in Las Vegas. Santos, to his credit, was fighting hurt, and one judge still had him down as the winner.
That upset would've been a blockbuster, too -- Jon Jones hasn't lost a match since 2009. Santos made him work hard, though, and the judges' scorecards reflected how close Santos came, losing by one point on two, with the third judge scoring a one-point win for the Brazilian light heavyweight.
Santos could've called it, as it was evident he'd injured his leg. Still, he kept going with solid counterpunches and strikes. At the halfway point, something clicked for Jones, and he stayed in rhythm for the rest of the match. He never tried for a takedown, however, and his explanation after the match revealed a mature tactician.
"I felt like I was winning," Jones said, "There's no need to go for a shot when we are playing a high level of chess in there. Anytime you out kick a guy who is a black belt in muay Thai, you shouldn't get yourself down."
Karma didn't run over Holly Holm, it smacked her upside the head and flattened her in the form of Amanda Nunes's foot.
Holm, who famously took down Ronda Rousey with a similarly authoritative kick in 2015, looked badly outmatched in her run at taking the women's bantamweight belt from Nunes. And it's hard to argue with such an assertion when she was downed with nearly a minute remaining in round 1.
Not that Nunes was willing to let it go with the vicious kick. She followed up, hard, and calling the match probably saved Holm from more damage.
After the TKO Nunes said she had told her coaches that she "wanted to knock [Holm] out the same way she knocks people out.''
"I did it tonight," Nunes continued, "She was the only former champion I didn't beat yet. Now I beat her, and I'm very happy.''
The knockout of the night, if not the century (so far) belonged to welterweight Jorge Masvidal, who now holds the record for fastest k.o. in UFC history. That's the whole match in the video above.
Masvidal took down veteran Ben Askren, who entered the ring undefeated as a pro. How he did it is as clear as day: a running launch into a brutal flying knee. To make it that much worse, Masvidal then taunted his opponent, including mocking how easily he went lights-out.
This was the culmination of a good deal of trash talk in the run up to the match.
Afterward, Joe Rogan asked Masvidal, "Why the flying knee?”
Masvidal said, "Because he’s a bum."
He later elaborated:
"There’s not too many people I’ve disliked more. I have over 50 pro fights and he’s one of them. He talked about my manhood, he talked about my culture, my ethnicity. Where do we draw the line? Why do certain people get to do stuff online? So everything is cool before the fight? Other fighters are talking about people’s religions, wife, even kids? That’s cool? But after a fight I’m not allowed to showboat and rub it in your face so guys think 'maybe I shouldn’t talk so much shit because when I cross these real motherf*ckers they’re going to make me pay for it, they’re going to embarrass the shit out of me.'”
Trash talk in the UFC won't end anytime soon. But Ben Askren will likely rethink it in the future. He should also rethink going to Whole Foods.
"If I see that dude at Whole Foods, I’m going to slap that dude up," Masvidal said, "because I don’t like him."