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UFC 239 live blog: Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Jon Jones faces off with Thiago Santos ahead of their light heavyweight championship main event bout Saturday at UFC 239 in Las Vegas
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This is the UFC 239 live blog for Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos, a light heavyweight championship bout at Saturday’s UFC event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Jon Jones, who is looking for his 10th successful defense of the UFC light heavyweight title, faces Thiago Santos, who is 3-0 as a light heavyweight, in the main event.

Check out the UFC 239 live blog below.

Round 1: Jones comes out and takes the center of the cage, stalking Santos. Kicks exchange back and forth. Santos lands a strong calf kick that almost takes Jones’ feet out from underneath him. Measured performance from Marreta so far. Moving away and taking his time, landing some good low kicks. Jones catches a leg but can’t get the takedown and misses a spinning back elbow attempt on the break. Jones throws a high kick but no luck. Santos throws a combination that misses but lands another strong calf kick. Those could pay huge dividends. Santos lands a left hook that knocks Jones’ mouthpiece out but doesn’t seem to phase the champion. Santos lands a leaping right hook but Jones eats it fine. Jones is not putting together offense right now and keeps ducking into hooks from Santos. Jones throws another spinning back kick that misses. Jones lands his own leg kick. Jones lands a spinning back kick to the head as the round ends.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Santos.

Round 2: Jones is all smiles to start round two and retakes the center of the cage. Santosthrows a leg kick but looks like he hurt his foot on the kick. Now Santos is swinging wildly, seemingly because he knows his time is numbered. But perhaps not. Santos is back at range and his step appears to be unaltered. The commentators mention the replay looked like Santos tweaked his stationary knee on the leg kick. Jones is stalking but not throwing much. Santos isn’t landing much but is throwing often. Nice body kick from Santos lands. Jones lands a head kick on a retreating Jones that drops Santos but it looked more like a slip because Santos’ knee appears to actually be injured. Santos may be hurt but he is still swinging for the fences. Jones just really isn’t doing anything and it’s not good.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 SAntos (20-18 Santos overall)

Round 3: Round two could certainly have gone to Jones but he threw so few strikes it’s hard to feel confident he won the round. The champion may want to start actually fighting at some point. Santos lands a glancing head kick. Jones lands a low kick. Nice body kick from Marreta. Santos throws another kick and stumbles a bit. It’s clear his left knee is a problem for him now, but not at the moment as Santos lands a three-piece combo. But Jones drops Santos with an elbow! Santos seems okay but he’s backing up and Jones lands a glancing flying knee! Santos is on top for a moment but now they’re back at range. Jon Jones decided to start fighting and it’s fun! Now Jones is throwing low kicks to the good leg of Santos and Santos answers with his own combination. A head kick attempt from Santos causes him to slip but Jones lands an elbow that opens a cut on Santos. Spinning back kick from Jones lands. Santos is now starting to look like a cornered animal as Jones is starting to unload kicks and really apply pressure. Head kick lands for Jones. This fight has turned on a dime as Jones is now in full control. Leg kicks from Santos. Spinning back elbow from Jones misses but the champion is now coming on.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Jones (29-28 Santos overall)

Round 4: Fourth round starts with Santos throwing heat but Jones slickly avoids all of it. Jones now back to the not fighting he did for the first two rounds. Wheel kick from Jones misses. Low kick lands. Santos lands a glancing high kick and Santos then stumbles while backing up. Incredible heart from Santos gutting through what is clearly an injury. Santos not getting backed up as easily this round but Jones lands a good low kick. Santos throwing hard counters but few are landing. Jones meanwhile is content to chip away with kicks. Jones misses a wildly telegraphed spinning back fist. This fight is not the way this card, which has otherwise been spectacular should have ended. Superman punch from Jones. Santos throws a low kick that gets checked and limps away. His body is clearly betraying him. Jones is winning this round in the least impressive way possible.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Jones (38-38 overall)

Round 5: Final round and it could be anyone’s fight. Santos lands a good body kick to start and a couple of good hooks. Jones is now backing up. More kicks from Santos. Good body kick from Jones. Grat let hand from Santos and a high kick and another left. Jones eats it without issue but he’s losing the round because he refuses to to anything but inch forward. Side kick from Jones and another one. Santos’ knee gives out on him as he comes forward but he keeps throwing kicks anyway. Now it gives out again but he keeps throwing kicks despite his knee buckling every time. Jones now firing a jab. Aggressive booing from the crowd, with good reason. Jones jumps weirdly and nothing happens. Santos charges forward and lands a few glancing blows. Santos throws a leg kick and falls over. Ten seconds left and the crowds is livid, meanwhile Jon ends the fight running away.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Santos (48-47 Santos overall)

Official result: Jon Jones defeats Thiago Santos by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)