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Featherweight fighter Arnold Allen, right, punches Gilbert Melendez during UFC 239 at T-Mobile Arena Saturday, July 6, 2019. Allen won by unanimous decision.

Updated 6 minutes ago

No matter what event was on the schedule, masses of fans flocked there.

Any concern that this year’s International Fight Week would prove less attended than ones in the past was dropped days ago. UFC 239 doesn’t include the mega matchups or the accompanying Fan Expo of past Fourth of July weekend pay-per-view fight cards.

But that doesn’t appear to matter. Las Vegas is as packed as ever with fight fans, which is making for a lively environment at T-Mobile Arena heading into the main event.

While the event might lack a historic-type fight, UFC 239 certainly isn’t missing great fighters. Many of the local mixed martial arts’ organization’s finest will step into the octagon over the next three hours.

None are more distinguished than light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, a pair of belt-holders who must fight off game competition.

Nunes is first in the co-main event against Holly Holm, who poses a problem for anyone with her boxing and kickboxing acumen. Bettors are reportedly calling for the upset with Holm, who’s as high as a plus-350 (risking $1 to win $3.50).

Of course, they’re also on Jones’ opponent, which could hint that they’re just looking for a big payout on a small bet. The line would indicate Jones has one of the easiest defenses of his career when he meets Thiago Santos, as high as a plus-500 underdog, in the main event.

Santos is a former middleweight who earned a shot against Jones by winning his first four fights at 205 pounds by knockout. The expectation is he’ll be head-hunting against Jones early.

Jorge Masvidal will have the same approach in a featured fight against Ben Askren, and he’s not even trying to mask it. Askren, perhaps the UFC’s best wrestler and an undefeated former One FC champion, is making his second appearance in the octagon after defeating former champion Robbie Lawler in March.

Big names are also in the first two fights of the main card, as welterweight “The Ultimate Fighter” winners Diego Sanchez and Michael Chiesa open the action before former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold debuts at light heavyweight against Jan Blachowicz.

Rockhold is considered a potential next contender for Jones. Askren could also add his name to the title picture at welterweight, where Kamaru Usman currently reigns, with a dominant win.

UFC 239 has a lot on the line, which might be part of the reason fans packed everything from Wednesday’s open workouts to Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins. It all leads up tonight, where there’s similiarly no lack of fanfafre.

Check below for full results from the preliminary card and follow along for round-by-roud updates of the main card.

Featherweight prospect Arnold Allen picked up the most significant victory of his career against former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. Allen defeated Melendez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in near flawless fashion.

Marlon Vera overcame a few early mistakes to still earn a memorable win over Nohelin Hernandez in a bantamweight bout. Vera used a rear-naked choke to submit Hernandez at 3:25 of the second round, setting up the finish with a knee to the chin.

Claudia Gadelha and Randa Marcos more or less neutralized each other in a women’s bantamweight bout, with neither fighter ever coming too close to a finish. Gadelha out-landed Marcos, though, and that was enough to earn a unaniumous decision where all three judges awarded her every round.

Yadong Song knocked Alejandro Perez out cold at 2:04 of the first round with a vicious right hand. The win was the highly-touted Song’s seventh straight and improved his UFC record to 4-0.

Top middleweight prospect Edmen Shahbazyan went virtually untouched before knocking out Jack Marshman at 1:12 of the first round. Shahbazyan improved to 10-0.

In a relatively close welterweight fight, Chance Rencountre came through with a big-time upset by beating Ismail Naurdiev via unanimous decision (30-27,29-28, 29-27). Recountre was as high as plus-455 (risking $1 to win $4.55) underdog.

Julia Avila defeated Pannie Kianzad via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27) in a women’s bantamweight bout. Kianzad showed extraordinary toughness to survive, as Avila nearly finished her with strikes in each round.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

Article written by #LasVegasSun