LAS VEGAS — Jon Jones retained his UFC light heavyweight title with a split-decision victory over Thiago Santos, who nearly pulled off a spectacular upset at UFC 239, despite apparently fighting on an injured leg.
Jones remained unbeaten since 2009, but he was stretched to the limit Saturday by his Brazilian challenger. Jones won 48-47 on two cards, and Santos won 48-47 on the third.
Santos appeared to hurt his leg during the fight, but he kept striking and counterpunching against Jones. The champ found his rhythm midway through the fight, but still competed cautiously and didn't even attempt a late takedown of his hobbling opponent.
Jan Blachowicz stopped Luke Rockhold with a devastating left hand in the second round of their light heavyweight bout.
The Polish veteran (23-9) staggered Rockhold with a kick at the first-round bell, and he ended it with a hook that left Rockhold glassy-eyed while he fell to the canvas. Blachowicz finished his fifth win in six fights on the ground.
Rockhold (16-5), a former middleweight champion, was coming back from a 17-month cage absence for his 205-pound debut. The Ralph Lauren model had lost two of his final three fights at 185 pounds.
Michael Chiesa has won a one-sided unanimous decision over Diego Sanchez in the first pay-per-view bout of UFC 239.
Chiesa (16-4) dominated on the ground and with strikes to improve to 2-0 as a welterweight. He was too much for Sanchez (29-12), the volatile 37-year-old veteran who has been in the UFC since 2005.
Sanchez was in the final fight of his current UFC contract, but he has expressed no interest in retiring. He had won two straight bouts after a 3-6 skid.