UFC 239 Fight Night LIVE: Jon Jones vs Thiago Santos and main card exclusive coverage

5 Jul

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones puts his UFC light heavyweight title on the line against Thiago Santos this weekend and talkSPORT will have exclusive coverage of the huge fight night.

talkSPORT has secured radio rights to UFC 239 as we bring you exclusive MMA coverage for the first time on the station..

Jon Jones takes on Thiago Santos on Saturday
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Two-time undisputed champ Jones, who retained his belt by beating Anthony Smith in March, returns to Las Vegas to defend his crown against veteran Brazilian Santos.

Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm – the only two to beat Ronda Rousey during her glittering UFC career – are also set to go head-to-head in a mega bout in the women’s bantamweight division.

Jorge Masvidal and Luke Rockhold are on the fight card as well on what should be a blockbuster night of Ultimate Fighting Championship action.

talkSPORT will bring you all the thrills and spills from Vegas live this weekend and here’s how you can catch it all.

Jon Jones vs Thiago Santos will be live on talkSPORT
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UFC 239: When is it and where?

The event is scheduled for the early hours of Sunday, July 7 UK time.

The preliminary bouts will start at around 11:30pm UK time on Saturday, July 6 with the main fight expected to get going at around 2am.

It is being held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with a capacity crowd of 20,000 fans expected to be in attendance.

UFC 239: Live on talkSPORT

Full commentary from Las Vegas will be exclusively live on talkSPORT, with our coverage getting underway at 9pm.

Adam Catterall and Nick Peet will bring you all the build-up and live action and to tune in just click here for the live stream or click the radio player below.

You can also listen through the talkSPORT App, on DAB Digital Radio or on MW 1053 or 1089.

For more information about how to listen LIVE on talkSPORT click here.

UFC 239: What has been said?

Jon Jones: “I think [anyone] could knock me out if I put my hands behind my back and let you punch me in the face! I think every man and woman in this audience is strong enough to knock me out if I let them punch me squarely in the chin.


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“Every UFC fighter I’ve ever fought has had the power to knock me out. It’s about being skilled enough to land that punch. Thus far, no one’s been skilled enough to land that punch, and I don’t think anything is going to change on Saturday night.

“MMA is an endurance sport, it’s a 25-minute endurance sport. I believe in the first two rounds his muscles will work to his advantage. Anything after that, he’s carrying extra weight and I think it will ultimately work against him.

“I’m actually a lot lighter than I normally am (in fight week),” he continued. “My idea was I’m fighting a guy moving up from middleweight, so I don’t need to be any more powerful, or stronger, for this fight. I need to be able to move really well and have some serious endurance.

“So I believe if it goes anywhere past two rounds, the fight is definitely going to quickly move in my favour, but I also believe I can finish him in the first two rounds as well, so let’s just see how it all plays out.”

Holly Holm is confident of beating Amanda Nunes
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UFC 239: Full card

Main Card

Jon Jones (c) vs Thiago Santos, light heavyweight

Amanda Nunes (c) vs Holly Holm, women’s bantamweight

Jorge Masvidal vs Ben Askren, welterweight

Luke Rockhold vs Jan Blachowicz, light heavyweight

Diego Sanchez vs Michael Chiesa, welterweight

Preliminary Card

Gilbert Melendez vs Arnold Allen, featherweight

Marlon Vera vs Nohelin Hernandez, bantamweight

Claudia Gadelha vs Randa Markos, women’s strawweight

Alejandro Perez vs Yadong Song, bantamweight

Edmen Shahbazyan vs Jack Marshman, middleweight

Ismail Naurdiev vs Chance Rencountre, welterweight

Julia Avila vs Pannie Kianzad, women’s bantamweight

Jan Blachowicz EXCLUSIVE: Light-heavyweight on Luke Rockhold fight at UFC 239 and facing Jon Jones

5 Jul

It’s the eve of UFC 239 and the biggest company in the world of Mixed Martial Arts has put together one of the best cards in their 26-year history.

Jon Jones headlines against Thiago Santos in the main event, Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm square off in the battle of the only women to ever beat Hall of Famer, Ronda Rousey, and Jorge Masvidal is going to lock horns with Ben Askren following a bitter war of words.

UFC 239 is one of the most stacked UFC cards ever

Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will also be making his light-heavyweight debut and he starts off against the sixth-ranked Jan Blachowicz.

Błachowicz has been ranked in and around the top five for a while now and talkSPORT caught up with the Polish fighter ahead of his date with Rockhold in Las Vegas.

Do you think Rockhold will translate well to light-heavyweight and how have you been preparing for him?

I prepare for him very normally. We have big and little light-heavyweights, heavyweights – we have everything in my gym. I have the best sparring partners; similar style, similar size as Luke Rockhold so I’m ready for everything he could bring.

Rockhold has pretty much had to come up to 205lbs because of his struggles with weight cutting. Being that you’re more of a natural light-heavyweight, do you think that will factor into the fight?

We will see. I am taking his challenge very serious so I’m ready for the very best version of Luke Rockhold. And we will see how he copes at 205 because this is a different mood, different timings, different power, different cardio, so we’ll see how he’s going to make it.

After having several high-profile fights in this division, with a win over Rockhold, how far away are you from title contention?

Hmm, right now, I only think about Luke Rockhold. I don’t think about the next fight. After that, we can talk about it, of course. If I was to win, I’d probably need to win one more maybe and then they’d give me the title shot? We will see, you never know. This is a big fight, so a win here would push me to the top for sure.

Jan Blachowicz and Luke Rockhold go face-to-face ahead of UFC 239
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Jon Jones has been reigning atop of this division for years now but you’re yet to have a crack at him, do you watch him and see any potential weaknesses for when your time comes?

Yes, I definitely watch him [laughs], but right now it’s all about Luke Rockhold. Of course, when that day does come and I get the chance to fight Jon Jones I will try and find a way to beat him.

With a slew of unbeaten guys making their way up through the division – Johnny Walker, Alexander Rakic, Dominick Reyes – where do you see yourself in relation to the division?

It’s good for the division. There’s lots of young guys with young blood so you have to training and ready all the time because they are right behind you. You have to be focused all the time. But it’s good for the sport because something is happening all the time and it’s not boring.

Prediction for Luke Rockhold fight?

I’m going to knock him out in the second round. That’s how it has been going in my training sessions and it’s going to happen.

Don’t miss talkSPORT’s live and exclusive radio commentary of UFC 239, as legend a legend of MMA in Jon Jones puts his Light Heavyweight title on the line against Thiago Santos at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Join Adam Catterall, Nick Peet and former UFC bantamweight Brad Pickett for live commentary of the main event at 2am on Sunday morning right here on talkSPORT for all the action.

UFC news: Luke Rockhold ready for Jon Jones fight, Conor McGregor return? Painful warning for Askren from Masvidal

4 Jul

talkSPORT.com brings you a round up of all the biggest news and gossip from the world of UFC…

Rockhold wants Jones

Luke Rockhold returns to action for the first time in more than a year as he makes his debut at light heavyweight to take on Jan Blachowicz.

A former middleweight champion, Rockhold has not fought since February 2018 when he was knocked out in the third round by Yoel Romero at UFC 221.

Having struggled to continuously cut to 185 pounds in the past, the 34-year-old is expected to flourish at the higher weight.

Rockhold is fighting Jan Blachowicz next, but is ready to take on Jon Jones

“I feel good. I feel strong. I feel fast,” Rockhold told MMA Fighting ahead of UFC 239.

“I have a harder time with smaller guys than bigger guys, I always have. But these guys are slow, they’re not as technical. I’ll pick them apart and dominate them.

Rockhold is plotting his own path to Jon Jones, considered the best in the world and fancies his chances should both overcome their respective opponents at UFC 239 – live on talkSPORT.

“Jon is talented. I’ve envisioned fighting Jon for a long time,” Rockhold said. “I’ve studied him. I know what he’s capable of. I know how I would fare. I’m well prepared. I’ve broken Jon down many times with [heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier] and without.

“He’s got a good mind for the sport and some good additives.”


Press conference teaser

UFC’s media team posted a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, which read: ‘You never know who could show up’.

This led many fans to speculate it could be former two-weight champion Conor McGregor, who has now served his six-month suspension.

McGregor lost on his last UFC outing, as Khabib Nurmagomedov produced a dominant display in Las Vegas, to submit the ‘Notorious’ in four rounds.

Since then, we have had retirement talk and ‘Bottle Cap Challenges’ but there is hope it will be McGregor who shows up to announce his future plans.


Words of advice

UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has offered some words of advice to Thiago Santos ahead of his fight with Jon Jones at UFC 239.

Cormier knows exactly how good Jones is having faced the reigning light heavyweight king twice.

“I think Santos needs to go in there and fight his fight,” Cormier said to MMA Junkie.

Cormier has offered Thiago Santos some words of advice
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“Don’t think about what he has to do different than everybody else, what he needs to do to be better. Just fight your fight. Don’t worry about all that other stuff.

“All that other stuff is just white noise. Worry about Thiago Santos and give yourself a chance. It’s a tall order for him. It’s gonna be a tough fight for him.”


Painful prediction

Jorge Masvidal has made it clear he is no fan of Ben Askren ahead of their fight 6 July.

When taking questions from the audience, Masvidal, who knocked out Darren Till in his last fight, said he does not like his opponent.

Jorge Masvidal said he will punish Ben Askren
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“We’re going to do it painfully and brutally,” Masvidal said at the open workout. “I don’t like this dude as everybody knows. It’s going to brutal. It’s going to be painful.”

He later added, “I want to punish him man. So, if it’s up to me, third round, man. I want to punish this dude. I want to punish his ass.”

Jon Jones vs Thiago Santos at UFC 239 is live on talkSPORT on 6 July