Jones still light-heavyweight champ
"Jon Jones is fortunate to have escaped Las Vegas with his Light Heavyweight (205-pound) Championship on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 239," is how Forbes opened its coverage of the main event.
"Jones took a razor-thin split decision over Thiago Santos as he seemed to have trouble handling the explosive Brazilian's speed, but did enough to keep his title."
Jon JonesHere's how close the result was: Two judges scored the fight for Jones, 48-47, 48-47 ... while one thought Santos won, by the same score.
"This marked the first time in Jones' career that an opponent has ever won a fight against him on any of the three judges' scorecards," according to Forbes' Brian Mazique.
"At times, it seemed Santos was the more dangerous fighter."
Mazique made clear: "Santos wasn't robbed. I did score the fight for the champion, 48-47. However, after watching Jones leave no doubt against almost every opponent he's ever faced, it appears he has some unfinished business with Santos."
Sherdog.com seemed to be in agreement in just how close the title bout was, adding, "Perhaps the gap between Jon Jones and the rest of the Ultimate Fighting Championships' light heavyweight division has finally begun to narrow."
"'Bones won by the closest margin of his career ..."
The 31-year-old Jones, a New York high school state champion wrestler who earned an NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) national title in 2006 at Iowa Central Community College, holds onto the UFC light-heavyweight belt, and improves to 25-1-1 in a pro career going back to April 2008 ... while Santos is now 21-7 overall.
First MMA loss for Askren in fastest UFC KO ever
Here's how USA Today described the welterweight (170-pound) bout featuring Ben Askren, four-time NCAA finalist and two-time national champ for the University of Missouri: "The most hyped grudge match heading into UFC 239 ended in the fastest and perhaps most violent knockout in the history of the UFC."
"Veteran welterweight Jorge Masvidal used a hellacious flying knee coming out of the gate to knock Ben Askren cold in the their main-card bout."
"Askren shot for takedown right out of the gate and paid an unimaginably steep price," according to Sherdog.com. "Masvidal took flight, beat him to the spot and connected with full force, the impact of the concussive blow echoing through a stunned arena. Askren fell to the ground stiff and unconscious before being met with a few follow-up punches from 'Gamebred.'"
Askren was even more succinct in his post-fight analysis on Twitter:
Well that sucked�" Ben Askren (@Benaskren) July 7, 2019
It was all over in five seconds, making it the fastest knockout in the 25-year history of Ultimate Fighting Championships.
There had been some considerable trash-talking between Askren and Masvidal in the days leading up to the fight ... and it continued afterwards, as the winner taunted the unconscious former Mizzou Tiger mat star immediately after the knockout.
It was also the first career loss for Askren, a former Bellator and ONE welterweight titleholder. After regaining consciousness, Askren left the cage under his own power.
Askren, 34, who was also a member of the U.S. men's freestyle team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is now 19-1-1 in a pro career a decade in the making ... while Masvidal, also 34, improves to 34-14 in his career launched 16 years ago.