Jon Jones beat Thiago Santos by a split decision in a gruelling encounter in the T-Mobile arena on Sunday, July 7th, to retain his UFC Light heavyweight title. The fight turned out to be a much a closer fight than many expected, but the American did just enough for the victory.
Santos had the better of the first round as he landed multiple low kicks which troubled his opponent. Jones started to warm up in the second round as began to avoid some of Santos’s shots and counter. The later rounds were difficult to score as Jones continued to stay out of reach of the Brazilian but also found it difficult to land his own shots. As the fight ended neither fighter was sure of victory. The judges scored the fight 47-48, 48-47, 48-47 in Jones favour.
The BBC reported that Jones admitted he underestimated his opponent in the post-fight interview. "We all knew Thiago's best chance was to knock me out. I played it smart and brought home this gold for my family and team.
"He was technically a lot more sound than I thought. Thiago Santos is a black belt in Muay Thai. I'm proud of myself, because I stood with a guy who's been kickboxing way longer than me."
Amanda Nunes stopped Holly Holm in the first round with a head-kick to retain her UFC Bantamweight title. After a cagey start the Brazilian landed a kick to the head which knocked Holm to the ground four minutes into the fight. As Nunes went for the finish the referee jumped in to stop the fight, awarding Nunes another first round knockout win.
Nunes said in the post-fight interview that she wanted to use Holm’s own signature against her. "During my warm-up, I knew I was going to get her. I told my coaches I wanted to knock her out the same way she knocks people out ... I did it tonight. She was the only former champion I hadn't beaten yet. Now, I've beaten her and I'm very happy."
Jorge Masvidal beat Ben Askren with the fastest knockout in the history of the UFC. The Miami born fighter needed just five seconds to get rid of his opponent as he came out of corner and landed a flying knee which knocked his opponent clean out.
After, Masvidal showed little sympathy for his opponent. "I really wanted to beat him up for 14 minutes and 30 seconds before ending him, but it didn't happen," said Masvidal. "I have nothing nice to say about him. He was talking wild and I had to show him there are consequences. You're welcome for ending that dude.”
He also called for a title shot.
"I'm coming for that belt. You know who deserves that belt. I deserve that next title shot. After this performance, I don't want to say anything. I'll let the fans do the talking. They pay guys to fight. If you want to see a fighter, and not someone on social media talking about fighting, that's me."