UFC 239 Staff Predictions: Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos, More

UFC 239 staff predictions

Tonight (Sat. July 6, 2019) the UFC 239 pay-per-view (PPV) goes down from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the main event, Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight championship against Thiago Santos. Also, in the co-main event, Amanda Nunes defends her 135-pound title against “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holly Holm. And, of course, Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal finally meet inside the Octagon at 170 pounds.

The LowKickMMA staff has offered their predictions for the biggest card of the year thus far. Check them out below:

UFC 239 Staff Predictions

Jon Fuentes

  • UFC light heavyweight championship: (C) Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Jon Jones has established himself as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. However, he’ll step into the Octagon against a man in Thiago Santos who has the power to end a fight on the drop of a dime. But Jones is one of the best defensive fighters in the game. Landing a flush shot on him isn’t easy. Jones should be able to dominate Santos no matter where this fight goes. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

  • UFC women’s bantamweight championship: (C) Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm

Amanda Nunes has some scary power. It’s unlike anything women’s MMA has ever seen. Holm has never fought a striker with the power of Nunes, but she’s extremely technical, and has more than enough in her to out-point Nunes if she can avoid the shots. But like I said before, Nunes’ power has yet to be defeated, and this won’t change Saturday night (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

  • Welterweight: Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal

Askren showed some major problems in his standup game against Robbie Lawler. However, Masvidal doesn’t hit anywhere near as hard as Lawler does. If Askren is able to get Masvidal to the ground early in the round, Masvidal isn’t getting back up. But the only issue with that is, Askren will have to do that three times. As difficult as it may be, I think Askren gets it done. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

Luke Rockhold is one of the most well-rounded fighters under the UFC’s banner. He’s probably better than Blachowicz in every aspect of the game. However, Rockhold will be dealing with a different kind of power at 205 pounds coming up from middleweight, where his chin has already been suspect. With that being said, the skill differential between Rockhold and Blachowicz will be evident in the Octagon. (Prediction: Luke Rockhold)

  • Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa
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Initially I would’ve chosen Chiesa to get through Sanchez with ease, however, the longtime veteran has a newfound viciousness to him coming into fight week. Sanchez looks like a man on a mission, and is out to prove a lot after leaving Jackson-Wink MMA. I’m buying into the hype on this one. I think Sanchez finishes Chiesa with strikes. (Prediction: Diego Sanchez)

Abhinav Kini

  • UFC light heavyweight championship: (C) Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Like Vitor Belfort, Thiago Santos has knockout power, but I can’t see him getting in range and landing a shot capable of truly hurting Jon Jones. I expect the champion to carve out a submission or decision victory. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

  • UFC women’s bantamweight championship: (C) Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm

I don’t see Holly Holm giving Amanda Nunes many problems. Her only path to victory is a knockout in my opinion, but that doesn’t seem too likely. I expect Nunes to win this but given Holm’s durability, I think it will go the distance. (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

  • Welterweight: Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal

Jorge Masvidal’s performance against Demian Maia is really underrated and I feel he has way more paths to victory than Ben Askren does. If he can keep the fight standing, he will more than likely win, but he could still land some big shots while he’s defending the takedown or on the ground. He also has a good jiu-jitsu game so I really don’t think this is as one-sided as many believe. Masvidal via TKO. (Prediction: Jorge Masvidal)

I’m really intrigued to see how Luke Rockhold fares at 205. Jan Blachowicz is a tough opponent with good boxing, but I just think Rockhold is superior to him in many areas and will benefit immensely from the extra 20 pounds. Rockhold via submission. (Prediction: Luke Rockhold)

  • Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa

Diego Sanchez has won two in a row, but he will face a considerable step up in competition in Michael Chiesa. However, Chiesa usually wins on the ground and Sanchez has never been submitted before. I don’t know how, but I think we’re in for a surprise with Sanchez making it three wins in a row. (Prediction: Diego Sanchez)

Andrew Ravens

  • UFC light heavyweight championship: (C) Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

I don’t give Santos a big chance of winning this fight outside of landing a solid shot that changes the course of the action and most people would agree. Jones is clearly the best fighter in the light heavyweight division as he has beaten all of the top names – some more than once. Jones retains with a dominant unanimous decision performance. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

  • UFC women’s bantamweight championship: (C) Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm
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It seems like whenever Holm gets into a big fight, she doesn’t fight the same as to when she would fight against lesser competition. Combining that and Nunes being the GOAT of the women’s bantamweight division, is odds in which I don’t think Holm can overcome. I have Nunes retaining the strap by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

  • Welterweight: Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal

I can see this going either way as both bring different styles and skill sets into this fight. Who wants it more come fight night and which fighter can implement their strategy will be the determining factor into the winner being crowned. I see Askren getting the unanimous decision though. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

  • Light heavyweight: Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold

Rockhold should be extremely confident heading into this fight. Although Jan will bring a tough fight to Rockhold, this is a great matchup for Rockhold’s light heavyweight debut and a win that could put him into title contention. (Prediction: Luke Rockhold)

  • Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa

Chiesa should bring the exact mindset to this fight that Sanchez will bring, which should be the perfect recipe for a great fight that could go anywhere. It’s simply Chiesa’s time and I think Sanchez has been in too many wars to compete on the same level as Chiesa. (Prediction: Michael Chiesa)

Tony B. King (MC Hydro Phonics)

  • UFC light heavyweight championship: (C) Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Santos has been on a streak as of late but he hasn’t and probably won’t ever face the likes of Jones. Santos does have the power and on any given night he could land that big shot and sleep anyone. Jones, however, is the bigger and longer fighter. He’s arguably the best to ever do it. Unless he gets caught last Thiago, I see him finishing this fight within 4 rounds. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

  • UFC women’s bantamweight championship: (C) Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm

Amanda Nunes is on an 8 fight winning streak spanning back almost 5 years. As of late she’s been looking as good as ever. Don’t count Holm out though. Nunes is susceptible to being tagged, with 2 TKO losses coming via Cat Zingano & Alexis Davis. If Holm connects with the high kick it could be lights out for The Lioness but I wouldn’t put my money on it. (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

  • Welterweight: Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal

No mystery here. Masvidal will try to keep the fight standing and Askren is gonna try to chain wrestle him to the ground. If Masvidals take down defense can hold up he wins the this fight via 2 piece & a soda. That said Lawler has better takedown defense than Jorge and Askren hopped on him like a carnival pony. Gotta go with Ben on this one. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

  • Light heavyweight: Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold
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Jan Błachowicz is 5 & 5 in his last 10 fights. Luke Rockhold love him or hate him is still a force to be reckoned with. Rockhold has only lost 3 fights under the UFC banner. Once to TRT Vitor, once to Hall of Famer Michael Bisping and lastly to the York the Incredible Hulk Romero. Questions about his chin have been raised but I’m sensing Rockhold comes out more tactical in this fight. He’s more athletic and has a better arsenal. I suspect we’ll see a finish. (Prediction: Luke Rockhold)

  • Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa

Sanchez has left Jackson Wink. Chiesa is coming off an impressive win against Carlos Condit. I love watching Diego fight but I think Maverick takes this one easily. Chiesa is not going going to engage in a slugfest with Sanchez. I see him staying tactical and on the outside. Chiesa has the reach, height and age advantage here. Look for him to out-point Sanchez or possibly score a late TKO. (Prediction: Michael Chiesa)

Quoc Thi

  • UFC light heavyweight championship: (C) Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Can Santos accomplish what no other man has been able to and knockout the light heavyweight king? Whilst it’s a possibility I doubt it’s any more power than Jones has experienced before and I expect Bones will pick Santos apart and go for the finish in the 3rd or 4th round. (Prediction: Jon Jones)

  • UFC women’s bantamweight championship: (C) Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm

2 great strikers should make for a great scrap. I can picture Holm pulling off the upset but as a betting man I would have my money on Nunes. (Prediction: Amanda Nunes)

  • Welterweight: Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal

I’m hoping Masvidal can repeat his success from London and take out Askren. My wallet says Askren will get the nod though. (Prediction: Ben Askren)

  • Light heavyweight: Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold

Will Rockhold’s chin hold up in the LHW class? I think not.. (Prediction: Jan Blachowicz)

  • Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa

Tough as nails as Sanchez versus the submission specialist Chiesa. I’m going with Sanchez as he’s never been submitted before and hopefully he can keep that streak going. (Prediction: Diego Sanchez)

Who do you think has the best picks for tonight’s UFC 239 PPV?