Many things should be clearer after UFC 239 on July 6th. After his controversial win over Robbie Lawler, can Ben Askren make a real home for himself in the UFC? Will Amanda Nunes deepen her reputation as the best female fighter of all time? Perhaps most interestingly, is how Luke Rockhold will fare as a Light Heavyweight.
A former Middleweight world champion, Rockhold announced last year that he would be moving up a division to avoid the increasingly difficult weight cuts. An established star and hugely experienced veteran of the sport, Rockhold brings some much needed intrigue to a division which is in danger of losing the public’s attention.
The Jon Jones Show
Dominant champion Jon Jones will also be appearing at UFC 239, taking on the Brazilian Thiago Santos. According to Sky Bet, Jones is an overwhelming favourite, being offered at just 1/6, with Santos at 7/2. Should Jones get past Santos he will have beaten all the major contenders. With the retirement of Alexander Gustaffson, and the migration of great rival Daniel Cormier to heavyweight, there are no obvious potential fights to make.
Rockhold’s fight against Jan Błachowicz, the current number 6, looks increasingly like an audition to face Jones. Sky Bet has Rockhold favourite at 8/15, with Blachowicz at 11/8. For the health of the division, UFC top brass will be hoping the bookmakers are right.
Elsewhere on the card, Amanda Nunes, the most dominant female fighter since Ronda Rousey, takes on former Bantamweight champion Holly Holm. Nunes is at 3/10 with Holm a 5/2 underdog.