Just hours after teasing a potential bout with Stipe Miocic in July, Jon Jones has agreed to defend his light heavyweight crown against Thiago Santos at UFC 239.
ESPN first reported that the Jones-Santos bout, along with a women’s bantamweight championship clash between Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, have been verbally agreed to for the July 6 event. UFC 239 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as part of the promotion’s International Fight Week. The main card will air on pay-per-view, with Jones vs. Santos serving as the headliner.
Jones returned from his latest USADA suspension at UFC 232 in December, when he defeated Alexander Gustafsson via third-round knockout to claim the vacated light heavyweight belt. He successfully defended the title with a dominant five-round verdict over Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 1.
Santos, meanwhile, has enjoyed great success since moving up from middleweight, posting a trio of KO/TKO victories over Jan Blachowicz, Jimi Manuwa and Eryk Anders. “Marreta” has won eight of his last nine Octagon appearances overall.
Nunes is coming off a 51-second knockout of Cristiane Justino at UFC 232 that made her a two-division champion. “Lioness” has successfully defended the bantamweight crown in wins over Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko and Raquel Pennington and has been victorious in her last eight promotional appearances.
Holm rose to stardom when she captured the bantamweight crown with a second-round KO of Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015. The Jackson-Wink MMA product is just 2-4 since then but most recently earned a unanimous verdict over Megan Anderson in a 145-pound bout at UFC 225.