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UFC 239 play-by-play, live results, video highlights

UFC 239 play-by-play, live results, video highlights

Jon Jones attempts a left high kick against Thiago Santos at UFC 239

The Body Lock is here to bring you UFC 239 play-by-play updates and live results from all of the action taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout is the scheduled main event of the evening. Jon Jones will look to defend his title for the second time since reclaiming it last December. He’ll face Thiago Santos, who is now on a four-fight winning streak and has won three fights since moving to light heavyweight.

In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will defend the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship against former titleholder Holly Holm. Nunes became a two-division champion after knocking out Cris Cyborg in less than a minute in December.

Read on for UFC 239 play-by-play and live results once the fights commence.

UFC 239 results

Main Card

  • Jon Jones def. Thiago Santos via split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) (play-by-play)
  • Amanda Nunes def. Holly Holm via TKO (right high kick and punches) – R1, 4:10 (play-by-play)
  • Jorge Masvidal def. Ben Askren via knockout (flying knee) – R1, 0:05 (play-by-play) (video)
  • Jan Blachowicz def. Luke Rockhold via knockout (left punch) – R2, 1:39 (play-by-play)
  • Michael Chiesa def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Preliminary Card

  • Arnold Allen def. Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Marlon Vera def. Nohelin Hernandez via submission (rear-naked choke) – R2, 3:25
  • Claudia Gadelha def. Randa Markos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Song Yadong def. Alejandro Perez via first-round knockout (right punch) – R1, 2:04 (video)

Early Preliminary Card

  • Edmen Shahbazyan def. Jack Marshman via submission (rear-naked choke) – R1, 1:12
  • Chance Rencountre def. Ismail Naurdiev via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Julia Avila def. Pannie Kianzad via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

UFC 239 play-by-play

Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Follow our Jones vs. Santos play-by-play here.

Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm

Follow our Nunes vs. Holm play-by-play here.

Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren

Follow our Masvidal vs. Askren play-by-play here.

Jan Błachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold

Follow our Blachowicz vs. Rockhold play-by-play here.

Michael Chiesa vs. Diego Sanchez

Round one

Sanchez storms out at Chiesa because of course he does. Early takedown attempt and Chiesa has control of him. Chiesa is transitioning and attempts an armbar. Very slick work on the mat. Doesn’t get the submission, however, and Sanchez has top position. Chiesa stands and drives Sanchez to the cage. He advances and throws some strikes. Now clinching against the cage. Chiesa drags Sanchez to the mat and is now hunting for a submission again. He takes the back of Sanchez and starts striking him. Control has been superb. He’s locked up a rear-naked choke across the jaw of Sanchez and squeezes but Sanchez holds on. He then starts elbowing Sanchez – those are very hard shots.

Sanchez surprises by scrambling and recovering. Chiesa switches position and gets to top position in half guard. Sanchez’s cornerman is yelling “crack the coconut!” Good, solid work to end the round and remains in control of Sanchez to end the first five minutes.

A very good round for Michael Chiesa (10-9) and it could be considered a 10-8.

Round two

Chiesa is throwing Sanchez around with ease. No one has really done it quite the way Chiesa has so far. He takes Sanchez down and lands some heavy shots. They stand and Chiesa is dominating Sanchez. Lots of strikes to the head and then takes Sanchez down. He’s now passing the guard of Sanchez. He leaves his leg in danger and Sanchez quickly attempts a leg lock but it doesn’t last long. Chiesa looks outstanding and now has back control of Sanchez. He’s hammering home some heavy punches. Sanchez has no answer. Two hooks are in and he’s now just squeezing Sanchez. Sanchez is incredibly durable, however, and returns to his feet.

With one minute left Chiesa spins and takes Sanchez back down. The action is slowing down. Chiesa has really tried every way to get rid of Sanchez but has been unsuccessful. He locks up a kimura and uses the submission to advance to the back again. He maintains the kimura lock but is unable to finish the submission with just seconds remaining in the round.

This has to be a 10-8 for Chiesa. Brilliant work (10-8 takes it to 20-17).

Round three

Another fast takedown for Michael Chiesa and this round is shaping up to be much of the same. Chiesa’s been dominant throughout but has been unable to finish Sanchez with either submissions or ground and pound despite coming close on many occasions. Joe Rogan states that “it’s like watching a black belt roll with a blue belt,” and he’s right. Chiesa is calm and composed, seamlessly transitioning from a dominant position to another. Chiesa’s still trying to hand Sanchez his first-ever submission defeat, but it’s just not there for him because Sanchez is defending every spot well. He has the back of Sanchez and is now trying to open him up with elbows and punches to the head. With 20 seconds remaining, Chiesa is cranking at the neck of Sanchez.

Chiesa looks much stronger at welterweight. A dominant effort from start to finish. Another 10-8 for Chiesa making it 30-25 on our scorecard.

Michael Chiesa def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Gilbert Melendez vs. Arnold Allen

Round one

We’re underway. Allen misses with some strikes and that enables Melendez to throw some heavy counters. He misses, but the threat is there. Allen uppercut to the body and Melendez counters well. Melendez is packing power in his punches right now. Allen seems to be slipping as he moves forward, Melendez doing a good job of planting his feet and not giving up ground. Allen again dipping his head to work the body but this allows Melendez to land some punches. Melendez falls after a leg kick, he stands and takes a deep breath. Allen is stalking him now.

A left uppercut to the body and right hook lands for Allen. He goes straight back to that combination. Not a common one, by any means, but it’s working well for him here. The body shots are taking a toll on Melendez. A hard straight left seems to make Melendez stumble for a second. Now they’re in the clinch and it’s Allen pressing Melendez back. He separates. Unofficial stats show on screen and Allen has landed 30 strikes to Melendez’s 8 so far.

Allen is feeling it. He walks forward and lands with some punches. Melendez is forced to cover up. Spinning back kick attempt by Allen but misses.

A good round for Allen and one that will surely help his case in rounds two and three considering the excellent work to the body (10-9).

Round two

Allen’s work to the body continues in the second round. He’s doing a great job of landing long straight punches and evading Melendez’s counter strikes. By the time Melendez looks to return fire, Allen is out of range. Melendez not avoiding risks in the second round, he advances and trades heavy shots with Melendez in the pocket. Melendez controlled the center of the cage well in the first round and did well while doing so, but he doesn’t have the respect of Allen anymore and it’s allowed Allen to continually press forward now. A heavy calf kick lands to the lead left leg of Melendez. Melendez is doing a fair job of protecting himself from incoming strikes, he’s blocking high with his elbows, but there’s just too many strikes from Allen coming in and Melendez can’t defend them all. Allen getting the better of Melendez in the pocket every time. If Melendez lands one or two strikes, Allen has landed three or four by that time.

Another good round for Allen and a clear 10-9.

Round three

Allen gets double underhooks and pushes Melendez back to the cage. He takes Melendez down to the mat and lands in his full guard. Melendez had landed on occasion with a looping lead left hand. There’s not much power left in it, however. Allen’s work to the lead leg of Melendez has been fantastic. Melendez clearly trying to get himself back in the fight; he’s now landed a couple of good shots in the middle part of the round. Allen kicks the leg of Melendez and forces him to swap stances. He hides his left leg in a southpaw stance. Swaps back to orthodox. Allen waiting for his chance to pounce. Allen now crashing heavy left kicks into the body and arms of Melendez. They finish the fight slinging big punches at each other. Another round for Allen and a clear 30-27 win.

Arnold Allen def. Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Marlon Vera vs. Nohelin Hernandez

Round one

Nohelin Hernandez is making his UFC debut here at UFC 239. He looks comfortable early and begins circling the outside of the cage. Marlon Vera reaching out with his left hand to get a read on Hernandez. Vera catches a kick and then ends up taking the back of Hernandez. Eventually gets both hooks in and then switches it to the body triangle.

Vera is tightening his body triangle while softening up the head of Hernandez with some strikes. Hernandez struggling to escape the position. He switches to an armbar submission attempt before then attempt an arm crush. Hernandez survives two dangerous submission attempts before then landing in Vera’s full mount. He’s now landing some heavy ground and pound. He’s on top now with seconds remaining in the round.

We score that round 10-9 for Marlon Vera considering his impact, great back-take, and multiple submission attempts. Hernandez’s ground and pound was significant and suggests that he is right in this fight.

Round two

Marlon Vera begins with a leg kick. Hernandez lands with a brilliant head kick and it sure seems like he’s settling into this fight. Hernandez shoots in for a great double-leg takedown and now lands on top. Vera has butterfly guard and overhooks. Vera now has full guard but this is where Hernandez was dangerous in the last round. Hernandez connects with a slicing elbow. Vera covers up and Hernandez lands some more ground and pound.

Vera gets back to his feet and this one is firing up. Vera lands a knee to the head of Hernandez and slides straight into full mount. He then takes the back of Hernandez all in a matter of seconds.

Excellent work by Marlon Vera who really stepped it up after being tested by Hernandez on the mat.

Marlon Vera def. Nohelin Hernandez via submission (rear-naked choke) – R2, 3:25

Claudia Gadelha vs. Randa Markos

Round one

A slow start to this one as both fighters look for their opportunities. It’s Gadelha controlling the center and Markos circling around the outside. Gadelha comes into the pocket and Markos hits her with a right hand. Both fighters are staying low to the ground and look ready to either shoot or defend takedowns. Markos feinting now to try and get reactions from Gadelha. Gadelha left hook lands and that’s the biggest strike of the fight so far. Markos lands a leg kick but Gadelha counters strong with a punch.

There’s still not a lot happening in this fight. Gadelha’s got the edge considering she has landed the harder strikes. Now it’s Markos who counters an incoming leg kick of Gadelha with a punch of her own. Markos moves forward and throws some wild hooks but Gadelha slots a right hand down the middle. Markos lands strong and they both start throwing bombs at close range, it’s hard to tell what landed cleanly. Some more solid strikes from Gadelha get through the guard of Markos. Surprisingly, neither fighter attempted a takedown in the first round.

We score the fight 10-9 for Gadelha due to greater impact.

Round two

Markos is again circling around the edge of the Octagon, allowing Gadelha to control where the fight takes place. Gadelha lands with a punch. Markos needs to lift her output if she wants any chance of winning rounds or hurting Gadelha in any way. Markos is backed up again and Gadelha snaps her head back with some solid punches. Gadelha again snaps the head back of Markos with another punch. Gadelha is starting to run away with this fight despite there not being a lot of action so far.

Markos is waiting and waiting but Gadelha isn’t giving her any opportunities to counter. They tie up in the clinch and Markos lands some good shots including a knee. Spinning back fist attempt from Markos. She needs to do more of that if she wants a chance of taking this fight from Gadelha. First takedown attempt comes in the final seconds of the round. Markos defends well against the cage.

Strange fight. Gadelha did more in the first half of the round but not a lot later on. Markos’ corner is sure that they won the round.

We’re scoring it for Gadelha, 10-9 (20-18 for Gadelha).

Round three

Extremely slow start to round three. Disappointing fight overall. Same story as the earlier rounds. Markos circling and waiting to counter but there are no opportunities. Gadelha patiently stalking Markos. Two minutes into the third round and not much has landed.

Gadelha now gets on the board with a left hook. Both fighters are waving each other on to step up and become more aggressive but there’s almost nothing happening. Markos advances but misses and Gadelha attempts a counter. Right hand for Markos and Gadelha answers with a left hook. Gadelha now landing some strikes in the final minute. Markos has landed with very little effective strikes in round three. The crowd boos at the end of the fight.

We score that round 10-9 for Gadelha and 30-27 overall.

Claudia Gadelha def. Randa Markos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Alejandro Perez vs. Song Yadong

Round one

Song Yadong opens up with a left high kick that touches the guard of Perez. Yadong walks forward and lets his hands go, but doesn’t land cleanly. As Perez steps forward, Yadong plants his feet and unloads some heavy hooks. Lead left hook and right cross comes in for Yadong. Perez attempts a leg kick but Yadong crushes him with an unbelievable right hand. Perez falls and it’s all over.

Song Yadong def. Alejandro Perez via first-round knockout (right punch) – R1, 2:04

Jack Marshman vs. Edmen Shahbazyan

Round one

Shahbazyan happy to throw down with Marshman early. Both miss with several heavy shots. Shahbazyan hunts for a single-leg takedown and then lands in Marshman’s full guard. He postures up and starts throwing hard shots to the head. He slides past the legs of Marshman and lands in side control. Marshman gets to his knees and Shahbazyan takes his back instantly. That’s a fast rear-naked choke finish for Shahbazyan.

Edmen Shahbazyan def. Jack Marshman via submission (rear-naked choke) – R1, 1:12

Ismail Naurdiev vs. Chance Rencountre

Round one

It doesn’t take long for Rencountre’s back to touch the cage, as Naurdiev comes out and demands the center. Both guys are throwing heavy, fast strikes. Rencountre attempts a throw but Naurdiev defends well. Rencountre again has a takedown opportunity but Naurdiev floats and evades danger, his jiu-jitsu looks good so far. Naurdiev ties Rencountre up in the clinch and then lands a knee. He then connects with a heavy body kick. Naurdiev looks great.

Single-leg takedown for Rencountre is successful. Naurdiev’s back is against the cage and Rencountre doesn’t have any control right now. Now slides into Naurdiev’s half guard and uses that as a weight to keep him pinned down. Rencountre is now squeezing the right leg of Naurdiev and has him flattened out. Half guard is a good position for ground and pound, and Rencountre starts to land some soft strikes.

Paul Felder and Joe Rogan discuss how Rencountre may have stolen the round because of his top control, but we disagree. Naurdiev’s impact in the first half of the round was greater than Rencountre’s in the last parts. We score it 10-9 for Naurdiev, but it’s tight and could go either way.


Round two

Rencountre has Naurdiev down after just ten seconds. He’s got two hooks in and has the back of Naurdiev early. He’s now landing some decent ground and pound with Naurdiev flattened out. Naurdiev’s stuck in this position primarily because Naurdiev has maintained wrist control. Naurdiev recovers half guard. Rencountre’s top control is the big difference in this fight so far. Naurdiev seemingly has no answer to Rencountre’s pressure. He’s now been controlled for three minutes of the second round and the last few minutes of the first.

A 10-8 round for Rencountre needs to be considered. Although there wasn’t much impact from Rencountre’s offense, he dominated the vast majority of the round and neutralized Naurdiev for the majority of the five minutes (10-8 Naurdiev, 19-18).

Round three

It didn’t take long for Rencountre to shoot for a takedown, but Naurdiev defends this one. They separate to the middle of the cage and Naurdiev attempts some strikes. Rencountre has an opportunity to shoot underneath but looks fatigued. He goes again but Naurdiev defends the attempt. Rencountre tags Naurdiev with a stiff cross. Naurdiev answers back with a flying knee attempt but it allows Rencountre to press forward and tie him up in the clinch.

Rencountre starts taking the back of Naurdiev and now has both hooks in. Naurdiev is flattened out and Rencountre is hitting him with soft strikes. If he opened up with harder, consistent strikes, he could end the fight. Rencountre’s sitting in Naurdiev’s half guard. Naurdiev returns to his feet and then the referee eventually resets them in the middle of the cage after some inactivity.

Another 10-9 for Rencountre and a clear unanimous decision win (29-27).

Chance Rencountre def. Ismail Naurdiev via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Pannie Kianzad vs. Julia Avila

Round one

Kianzad storms out to take the center of the cage and lands early with a cross. They tie up in the clinch and Kianzad pushes Avila’s back to the cage. Avila attempts a knee and then swings Kianzad around to reverse position. Double underhooks for Kianzad, meaning that she’s strong in the position but unable to strike. Kianzad drops to the hips for a takedown attempt but Avila stays strong. Avila connects with a knee and then elbows – her Thai clinch work has been superb.

As Avila separates, she lands several heavy shots to the body and Kianzad responds with a hard punch upstairs. Kianzad’s boxing looks sharp, she lands 1-2 down to the head. Again presses forward and pushes Avila back. They separate again and Kianzad advances behind a three-punch combination. Avila turns and lands several heavy punches to the head. Avila presses Kianzad’s back to the cage and then is reversed. Both fighters land stiff punches to end the round.

A tight round overall but Avila seemed to do more impact (10-9 Avila).

Round two

As Kianzad comes out with straight punches, Avila level changes and presses her back to the fence. Kianzad reversed the position well in the first round but was unable to land any strikes from the clinch. They return to the middle of the cage and Kianzad feints with a jab before working the lead leg with a kick. Returns to it again not long after. Avila attempts a kick to the body, but Kianzad catches and takes her down. Nothing there and they return to the feet.

Spinning back fist attempt by Kianzad misses. Both fighters now testing their striking. Kianzad landing with some good shots now as Avila struggles to find her range. Avila’s strikes are falling short. Avila rushes forward behind a sloppy jab and backs Kianzad before landing some big punches. A cut opens above Avila’s right eye and she’s bleeding now. Kianzad’s combinations have looked great all night. Avila responds with some big strikes and Kianzad looks hurt. Avila chooses to clinch with her and this allows Kianzad to rest for a moment. Hard front kick to the stomach lands for Avila. They scramble at the end of the round but there’s no time remaining to advance position.

Kianzad looked better in the early moments of this round but Avila eventually stepped up after some adjustments, including improved forward movement (10-9 Avila).


Round three

The round starts and both fighters come out swinging. Avila lands some long strikes to the top of Kianzad’s head. Kianzad looks better when she leads but is finding herself waiting too much now in the last few minutes of the fight. They clinch again and nothing happens in the clinch.

Avila drops Kianzad with a combination of punches. She follows Kianzad down to her full guard. Kianzad hunts for an armbar submission but just as she swivels her hips, Avila evades and then begins the process of taking Kianzad’s back. She’s now in Kianzad’s half guard. Avila transitions smoothly and now has the back. Kianzad’s defense has been good enough and she’s threatened to take top position with a few scrambles. Avila still has her hooks in, though, and is waiting for the opportunity to slide under the neck. Avila’s clearly up on the scorecards and seemingly has no interest in risking giving up the opportunity in order to chase a stoppage win.

Avila easily controls the third round and earns what appears to be a 10-8 round due to dominance and duration, at the least.

Julia Avila def. Pannie Kianzad via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

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