UFC Jones vs. Sean O'Malley was expected to face Marlon Vera at the event. However, O'Malley announced his withdrawal from the bout on June 21 due a failed test for ostarine. The ostarine in his system was likely residual from his previously failed test prior to UFC Melissa Gatto was scheduled to face Julia Avila at the event.
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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 pound title in the main event of UFC inside T-Mobile Arena. Two judges scored it for Jones while the third had it the same for Santos. CBS Sports also had it for Jones. 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. Thiago Santos is a black belt in muay Thai so I am proud of myself. 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.
In what turned out to be one of the most wild pay-per-view main cards in recent history, Saturday's UFC card delivered no shortage of storylines as to what comes next. As the headliner to a packed International Fight Week in Las Vegas, the card produced a succession of devastating knockouts and a near upset in the main event as we were delivered what may go down as one of the most memorable cards of the entire year when all is said and done. Can't get enough UFC? Subscribe to my podcast -- State of Combat with Brian Campbell -- where I break down everything you need to know in the Octagon, and be sure to listen to our instant analysis of the UFC fight card in the embed below.
Highly-touted bantamweight newcomer Julia Avila delivered an impressive victory in her Octagon debut, winning a three-round unanimous decision over Pannie Kianzad. Scores were and twice for Avila, now Kianzad, who replaced the injured Melissa Gatto, falls to There were some excellent back and forth action in the opening round, particularly in the clinch, where Avila scored with short elbows and flush knees while Kianzad largely controlled the location of the fight. The fight remained nip and tuck in the second, but the biggest scoring blows came from the bloodied Avila, who staggered Kianzad with a combination with less than 90 seconds left. In the second minute of the final round, Avila dropped Kianzad with another accurate punch and then took over on the mat when the Swede survived the initial striking assault, keeping her foe there until the final horn. After another kick by Naurdiev to start the second, Rencountre again dragged his foe to the mat and took his back. After a brief spell of being flattened out, Naurdiev got his back on the mat, but he remained grounded. Middleweight phenom Edmen Shahbazyan continued to impress, as he submitted veteran Jack Marshman in just 72 seconds.