UFC 239 results, highlights: Jon Jones outpoints Thiago Santos to retain light heavyweight title
Jones did just enough to score a decision win over a wounded opponent on Saturday night in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- Despite the constant tension and threat of Thiago Santos' hard strikes, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones did what he always does -- win.
He did it just barely, however.
In a decision in which Jones seemingly allowed to be that close by refusing to attempt a single takedown, despite a visible injury to Santos' left leg, Jones hung on for a split decision to defend his 205-pound title in the main event of UFC 239 inside T-Mobile Arena.
Two judges scored it 48-47 for Jones while the third had it the same for Santos. CBS Sports also had it 48-47 for Jones.
Check out our audio instant analysis of UFC 239 below, and subscribe to my podcast -- State of Combat with Brian Campbell -- where I break down everything you need to know in the Octagon each week.
Make no mistake, Jones was incredible for most of the fight either showcasing his technical advantages on the feet or his championship-level chin by absorbing a number of hard strikes throughout the fight. But by choosing to engage in a chess match while standing at close range, Jones not only increased his danger, but he allowed the hard-hitting Santos to linger.
"Oh my goodness, boy was he tough," Jones said. "I'm sorry, I know a lot of you guys are booing me right now but his only way to win was to knock me out so I took that away from him.
"He was a lot more technically sound than I thought. Thiago Santos is a black belt in muay Thai so I am proud of myself."
Jones defended his lack of takedown attempts by saying his intent was to disarm Santos.
"I felt like I was winning. There's no need to go for a shot when we are playing a high level of chess in there. Anytime you out kick a guy who is a black belt in muay Thai, you shouldn't get yourself down."
Santos confirmed after the fight that he suffered a leg injury in Round 1 and that he couldn't move very well for the rest of the fight.
"This was a chance given to a very poor boy from the City of God, and I'm very thankful for it."
While Jones attempted just 90 significant strikes in the 25-minute fight, the fewest in his last seven fights, he was more precise and accurate with his strikes, particularly quad kicks that buckled and injured Santos' leg even more. Santos threw146 significant strikes total in the fight.
"Santos is the most powerful guy I ever fought," Jones said after the fight. "When he gets back to Brazil, people need to give him a parade or something."
CBS Sports was with you for every punch, kick and submission attempt from Las Vegas with our live blog below. If you are having trouble viewing the blog, please click here.
UFC 239 results
Jon Jones (c) def. Thiago Santos via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Arnold Allen def. Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Marlon Vera def. Nohelin Hernandez via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Claudia Gadelha def. Randa Markos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
UFC 239 updates, highlights
Thanks for stopping by.
Kyle Marley just locked in MMA picks for every fight on the Woodley vs. Burns card.
Both fighters have expressed an interest in making the fight happen, so it's up to UFC to figure...
Brandon Wise just revealed his picks for every bout on the May 30 UFC Las Vegas fight card.
Woodley and Burns will battle with massive ramifications for the welterweight division
A look at three fights you'll want to keep an eye on during the UFC's return to Sin City on...
Nunes will be defending her featherweight title for the first time since stopping Cris Cyborg
Overeem ended the dreams of a happy ending for Harris with a second-round stoppage on Saturday
Teixeira inched himself closer toward another shot at the light heavyweight title with the...