Fight nights don’t get much bigger (or better) than this…
UFC 239: Jones v Santos, Saturday 6 July, 11.15pm, BT Sport Box Office. HD only, £19.95. Booking now open
Though the age-old adage stipulates that what happens in Vegas tends to stay in Vegas, the outcomes of this weekend’s two showpiece events will undoubtedly send shockwaves throughout the world of mixed martial arts.
In the first of two truly mammoth contests, women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes takes on fan favourite “The Preacher’s Daughter”, Holly Holms, for the aforementioned bantamweight title, which Holm herself claimed back in 2015 (knocking out Ronda Rousey).
Then, in a mouth-watering main event, light heavyweight champion (and, arguably, one of the greatest MMA fighters in history) Jon Jones takes on the highly rated Brazilian Thiago Santos, in the third defence of his crown.
It could, we think, go down as one of the UFC’s biggest ever evenings, with four of the organisation’s top talents going knuckle to knuckle and knee to knee for some of the sport’s most coveted titles, in front of a packed Las Vegas crowd.
Read on below to find out more about the fighters that will make this an evening (well, early morning’s) worth of all-out MMA action that is definitely not to be missed.
Jon Jones v Thiago Santos
Will Jones’ path to redemption continue?
Jon Jones shot into the limelight in 2011, after bagging his first light heavyweight title at just 24. But a decade of controversies both in and out of the octagon derailed his career for a time, leading to him being stripped of the title and incurring his first (and so far, only) professional loss (a contentious disqualification). He has, however, clawed his way back to the top, reclaiming his belt in 2018 and putting his infamous doping troubles behind him, and a third defence would go some way to putting further distance to his chequered past.
Can Santos’ dreams become a reality?
It’s been a long way to the top for Santos. The former middleweight has put in some storming performances since stepping up to light heavyweight, brutally dispatching Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa and Jan Błachowicz to put himself in contention for a highly anticipated title shot with Jones. Claiming a belt in his maiden title shot would be, at 35, a fitting and crowning achievement to a solid, if not entirely stellar, career.
Amanda Nunes v Holly Holm
Will Nunes’ reign continue unabated?
Years ago, Ronda Rousey took the women’s bantamweight division by storm, with her three-year reign propelling her into the big-time and causing many to question whether she’d ever be beaten. Then came Amanda Nunes. Since snatching the title from Miesha Tate in 2016, Nunes has also added the featherweight title to her belt, becoming the first women to hold two belts simultaneously. She’s odds-on to continue her reign, but as her next opponent once proved, nothing is certain when it comes to UFC title fights…
Can Holm repeat her 2015 heroics?
Brilliant as Ronda Rousey was in her prime, it took a special performance from Holly Holm to knock the champion from her perch. It was the highlight of Holms’ illustrious and journeyed combat sport career, and though she lost the belt in her first defence, she’s remained a fan favourite ever since and is no easy task for whoever she faces in the octagon. The last few years have been tough, seeing Holm bounce from a bantamweight to a featherweight and back again, losing four of her last six contests, including a title shot in the latter division. But as she’s shown before, Holm is arguably the toughest competitor the UFC has ever seen, and there’s every chance she could make history yet again come the early hours of Sunday morning.
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TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
BT Sport Box Office: This event can only be purchased/viewed on TiVo® and Virgin TV V6 Boxes. Available in HD only.
This is a live event only and cannot be recorded. Price includes scheduled repeats.
Repeats at 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm on Sunday 7 July.