Saturday’s UFC 239 was one of the wildest cards ever shown on pay-per-view. There were close wins, devastating knockouts, and breaking defeats. It may go down in history as one of the most dynamic and memorable cards in the year – let’s discuss everything that went down at UFC 239 and what the world learned on Saturday in the T-Mobile Arena.
The Next Superstar for the Counter-Culture
Jorge Masvidal isn’t polished – he’s a bit rough around the edges, but this hasn’t kept him from showing out in the ring. At UFC 239, he made history with the knockout of Ben Askren in five seconds. This is after all the trash talking that took place, leaving the crowd in an uproar.
This ghetto superstar held an audacious celebration after the fight, which may have just given the title of the greatest anti-hero in the UFC. Even Nate Diaz didn’t capitalize on his pay-per-view fights against Conor McGregor. If Masvidal gets the welterweight title, he might become even bigger than the Diaz brothers.
Mazvidal is real and has many components that make him a crowd favorite. The fighter used to work in his backyard and is now in the ring with UFC champs using his catchy slogans and enthusiasm to fight to build his brand. Whether it’s inside or out of the cage, Masvidal is someone to look out for – especially after the disrespectful KO that made history in the world of combat sports.
Confidence Nearly Killed the Cat
Jon Jones was impressive in his display on Saturday, but he almost got in over his head and played himself. The light heavyweight champion went against Thiago Santos, a hard-hitting opponent with a tactical skill that was overcome by Jones’ during the fight. Jones played around during the fight, seemingly letting Santos maintain the potential to land a dangerous blow.
Jones continued to let the fight continue as Santos wobbled on his injured leg during the second half of the fight. Since the rounds are scored, Jones risked the match by letting the score determine the outcome. With Santos wounded, Jones could’ve won the fight and ended things early. However, he chose a different route.
He may have been going for a spectacular finish, but he didn’t take enough chances or push for it. Instead, he says he had strategic reasons for his puzzling decision when it came to not attempting a takedown and finishing Santos while he was on the ground. Instead, he chose something more dangerous and walked Santo’s down while in his strike zone while getting countered heavily.
At times, the fight was boring as if Jones had chosen to win using the most boring technique possible, as can be seen in Round 4. He was lucky to have a win based on the scores, but it was all down to Vegas luck.
The Female G.O.A.T. Reigns in the Octagon
Holly Holm was the only former champion that Amanda Nunes had yet to face. Before UFC 239, fans wondered how a fight would go between these two champs, but this question was answered with a violent kick in the head in the first round. Nunes solidified her status as the most decorated and talented female UFC fighter in history. There’s now the question of what to do wither amazing legacy. She’s unrivaled and her precision along with her power is enough to make her a challenge for females as well as males.
Nunes may be the greatest fighter ever, regardless of their gender. While this is a bit far off, especially considering the danger that Jones’ faces that Nunes doesn’t, Nunes has often benefitted due to her size and the amount of power she has. However, Nunes continues to prove that she belongs in history as one of the greatest fighters to ever step into the ring. This group includes some other champs, such as Daniel Cormier, Georges St-Pierre, Demetrious Johnson, Jones, and Anderson Silva.
Is the Time Right to Say Goodbye?
Dana White, the president of the UFC, has hinted at the potential departure of some of the fighters that didn’t come out with wins at UFC 239. While it wasn’t an official statement, it may be time to say goodbye to Luke Rockhold, Holly Holm, and Diego Sanchez. This may have been the last time seeing them in action – which may not be such a bad thing. It’s not likely that they won’t get in the ring again in the future, but their performance may indicate that it’s time to move on.
Holm has accomplished a lot in her career, losing only to the elite of the elite. However, she’s lost 3 out of 5 recent matches and it seems like she may not be in the best shape anymore. At the age of 38, this champion may need to let the reins loose.
Rockhold’s situation is a bit different after several knockouts – even when he debuted as a light heavyweight against Jan Blachowicz. While the 34-year-old champion is talented, there’s something that’s keeping him from reaching his full potential. This block has led to 3 KOs that ended in defeat in his last four fights. He still has his modeling career ahead of him, though.
Sanchez has been a thrilling champ for several eras, but his time may be coming to an end. His loss against Michael Chiesa was less thrilling and showed that his era is finished.
Watch Out for Two New UFC Stars
As UFC expands, there are two faces that are seeing the light of day and have been under the radar of UFC 239. Yadong Song, a Chinese bantamweight with good prospects, showed his potential when he delivered a punch that knocked out his opponent, Alejandro Perez, in the first round. His discovery could be attributed to the opening of the Performance Institute, a state-of-the-art facility in Shanghai, China.
Another potential camp is middleweight Edmen Shahbazyan, an Armenian-American challenger that dropped his opponent, Jack Marshman, in just 72 seconds flat. He’s gone unrivaled since going pro in the year 2017. He trained under Edmund Tarverdyan, who worked with female champ Ronda Rousey. His fighting style is efficient and forceful, giving the crowd a full display of his talents.