Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearUFC 200 was supposed to be a grand celebration. McGregor was pulled from card after butting heads with the promotion, and two days before the event, Jon Jones was forced off the card after testing positive for a banned substance, scuttling his rematch with Daniel Cormier.UFC 213 was initially scheduled to be headlined by the grudge match between Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw and after it was scrapped a rematch in the women’s bantamweight division was elevated in its place. However, on the morning of the show, Amanda Nunes was forced out of her bout with Valentina Shevchenko, leaving Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero battling for the interim middleweight title to close out the show.And last year, featherweight titleholder Max Holloway was deemed unable to compete after giving a stumbling, slurring interview a couple days before he was scheduled to defend his title against Brian Ortega.But this year, this year everything went off without a hitch.Sure, a couple bouts got moved to other locations in the run-up to Saturday’s event and a pair of fighters were pulled from preliminary card bouts, but there were no last-minute changes — no one disappeared from the card on Wednesday or Thursday or Saturday morning.The five bouts that made up the main card at the start of the week were the final five bouts to hit the Octagon inside T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night and it was glorious.Here’s a look at what transpired at UFC 239 and the impact those results will have going forward.1. Jon Jones squeaks out split decision win over Thiago SantosIt was a lot closer than most people anticipated, but Jon Jones walked out of the Octagon with the light heavyweight title still wrapped around his waist, pulling out a split decision win over dangerous Brazilian Thiago Santos. #AndStill the undisputed UFC LHW champion of the world! #UFC239 @JonnyBones || B2YB Nemiroff pic.twitter.com/8UWc70Iqse— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 Early in the bout, Santos was the more aggressive, more effective of the two, landing more strikes and having the more effective offense than Jones. But then he tweaked his knee and his effectiveness started to wane, which coincided with the champion starting to press forward and implement his offense a little more.Down the stretch, both men were cautious, with Santos landing the harder shots and Jones countering with greater volume while dictating the terms of engagement. Neither man really stomped on the gas in the championship rounds, sticking to their respective game plans and waiting to see how the scores came out.When the tens and nines were tallied, it was Jones who landed on the happy side of the split, with Santos becoming the first fighter to edge out the long-reigning champion on a scorecard to date.2. Amanda Nunes finishes Holly Holm, cements GOAT statusIf there was any question about Amanda Nunes’ place in the pantheon of all-time greats, “The Lioness” answered those questions in amazing fashion, blasting Holly Holm with a high kick late in the first round of the UFC 239 co-main event. TONIGHT IS [email protected]_Leoa KOs Holm in round 1! #UFC239 pic.twitter.com/UtOTcb8g0Y— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 Nunes had already positioned herself as the top female fighter of all time before this contest in the eyes of many, but there is no question now. But this is more than the best run by a female fighter — it’s one of the most impressive stretches by any fighter, period.She’s won nine straight, including wins over the three other women to hold the bantamweight title, two over the reigning flyweight titleholder and featherweight queen Cris Cyborg. Nunes has finished seven of those nine victories, with Valentina Shevchenko the only one to survive to the bell, and six of those stoppages have come inside the first five minutes.This was an incredibly poised, measured performance and a testament to the work Nunes has put in over the last several years to reach her full potential and then blow past it to become one of the greatest fighters of her era.3. Jorge Masvidal crushes Ben Askren with fastest knockout in UFC historyJorge Masvidal and Ben Askren bumped gums at each other all week leading up to their highly anticipated welterweight clash at UFC 239. Standing across the cage from each other as they were being introduced, the jawing continued, and as soon as the fight started, Masvidal went airborne and knocked out Askren with a perfectly placed flying knee. OH MY GOD MASVIDAL STARCHES ASKREN IN 5 SECONDS!!!#UFC239 pic.twitter.com/8oWeqSIBhW— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 Officially stopped five seconds into the fight, it was over in two, as Askren dipped in for a takedown and Masvidal caught him flush.This was a statement win for the ages from Masvidal, a fight game lifer who has been a pro for 16 years and underrated for the majority of that time. After blasting Darren Till in March and adding “three piece and a soda” to the MMA lexicon, his profile skyrocketed and Saturday night, “Gamebred” may have earned himself a title shot by re-writing the UFC record book and registering the unquestioned clubhouse leader in the Knockout of the Year race.4. Jan Blachowicz scores massive knockout win over Luke RockholdThroughout the build-up to Saturday’s other main card light heavyweight matchup, I made sure to acknowledge that Jan Blachowicz was a tough test for Luke Rockhold’s divisional debut — a durable, seasoned, sturdy veteran who was on a four-fight winning streak before running into Thiago Santos in February.After staggering Rockhold with a high kick that grazed his head at the close of the first round, the Polish contender detonated a left hand on the former middleweight champion’s chin just over 90 seconds into the middle stanza, bringing the fight to an instantaneous end. JAN BLACHOWICZ!!!! #UFC239 pic.twitter.com/d6Rx1KpsGT— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 This was a no-doubt shot that had to feel good for Blachowicz, as Rockhold talked all kind of junk in the buildup to the fight and seemed to already be targeting a championship opportunity before ever competing in the division. He looked completely comfortable from the outset and capitalized as soon as Rockhold gave him an opening, securing the biggest win of his career and vaulting himself back into the thick of the title chase in the process.5. Michael Chiesa mauls overmatched Diego SanchezMichael Chiesa has looked like a force since moving to welterweight, following up his second-round submission win over Carlos Condit with a one-sided mauling of Diego Sanchez in the opening bout of Saturday’s main card. While the uncommonly durable Sanchez failed to relent, Chiesa was in control from start to finish, out-muscling and out-working the veteran in every position, in every round.Chiesa looked considerably larger than Sanchez and spent the entire fight having his way with the first man to enter the fraternity of “The Ultimate Fighter” winners. Every time Sanchez tried to mount some offense, the TUF 15 winner shut it down, rolling through every scramble and returning to a dominant position. Heavy shots landed by Chiesa in round 2! #UFC239🇺🇸 https://t.co/dpllHMlMq8🇬🇧 https://t.co/HxbMrGlCmP pic.twitter.com/2aG2U0zz68— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 People will want to chalk this up to the 37-year-old Sanchez being washed and entering the fight without any coaches in his corner, but that’s unfair to Chiesa. This move to welterweight was long overdue and he’s finally starting to show the full compliment of his skills. He’s an outstanding grappler and proving to be an intriguing new addition to the 170-pound ranks. It will be interesting to see where he goes after another outstanding effort.6. Arnold Allen shines in dominant effort against Gilbert MelendezThere have been a number of featherweights who have risen up the ranks and garnered a great deal of hype and acclaim in recent years, but one who has surprisingly stayed under the radar is 25-year-old Brit Arnold Allen. Despite a 5-0 start to his UFC career and a seven-fight winning streak heading into Saturday, the Tristar Gym staple has remained an unheralded member of the emerging class in the 145-pound ranks.Saturday night should change that as Allen walked into the Octagon and put on a clinic against former lightweight standout Gilbert Melendez.From the outset, Allen was the quicker, more powerful fighter, dictating the terms of engagement and largely having his way with the 37-year-old veteran. Throughout the fight, the surging youngster from Suffolk boxed up Melendez, landing at will and slipping out of range as “El Nino” looked to counter. He stayed within himself and kept the pressure on Melendez throughout, piling up the damage rather than chasing a finish. Showcase win for 🏴 @ArnoldBFA! #UFC239 pic.twitter.com/IurexkiEnY— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 This was a standout showing from Allen and the kind of fight that should elevate him into the conversation as one of the top up-and-coming talents not only in the featherweight division, but the UFC as a whole.7. Strong response and submission win for Marlon “Chito” VeraMarlon Vera was supposed to face Sean O’Malley on Saturday night in Las Vegas, but after “Sugar Sean” was forced from the card due to residual issues from his previous positive drug test, “Chito” got paired off with newcomer Nohelin Hernandez. It’s one of those situations where an established fighter can stumble and for a couple minutes in the middle of the contest, it seemed like that was going to be the case.After a strong start that included a beautiful back-take and multiple submission attempts, Hernandez reversed the position and went on the offensive, carrying that over into the opening moments of the second round. But when the newcomer gave Vera a chance to get back to his feet, the 26-year-old bantamweight took full advantage, charging forward and dropping Hernandez with a knee before swiftly climbing on his back and lacing up the choke. [email protected] turns the tables in round 2 and gets the submission win! #UFC239 pic.twitter.com/ApN6FiRQmK— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 Vera has been in the UFC for nearly four years now, but he’s still just 26 and starting to come into his own. This was his fourth consecutive victory and gives him seven wins in his last nine outings. While there are younger, newer names making waves at bantamweight, Vera is a young veteran who shouldn’t be overlooked.8. Song Yadong soon to be a ranked bantamweightFacing the toughest test of his career, Song Yadong delivered his most impressive performance to date, knocking out veteran bantamweight Alejandro Perez in just a shade over two minutes.The duo was originally slated to fight in March, but the 21-year-old Yadong was forced out of the pairing with a knee injury and replaced by Cody Stamann. Saturday night, he made up for lost time by blistering “Turbo” with a clean right hand counter that laid out the TUF: Latin America product, pushing his record to 4-0 inside the Octagon while extending his winning streak to seven. 360-degrees of perfection 😲#UFC239 pic.twitter.com/BtcxsqCr9O— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019 Team Alpha Male leader Urijah Faber has been telling everyone Yadong is a future superstar and thus far, he’s justifying Faber’s high praise. The young bantamweight should earn a place in the Top 15 after this performance and seems poised to be the latest “one to watch” in the loaded, competitive 135-pound weight class.9. Edmen Shahbazyan is the goodsEveryone says they’re better than their opponent in every area and that they’re going to run through their next opponent — it’s just how this works — but very seldom do people actually deliver. It’s even less frequent that the one doing the steamrolling is a 21-year-old wrapping up his rookie campaign in the Octagon.Edmen Shahbazyan said he was going to dominate Jack Marshman and on Saturday night, the unbeaten young middleweight dragged Jack Marshman to the canvas and went to work. He started by slinging heavy leather and after passing to side control, Shahbazyan climbed on the Welsh veteran’s back and quickly secured the fight-ending choke. It only took 72 seconds! @EdmenShahbazyan improves to 10-0 at #UFC239 with the first round stoppage! pic.twitter.com/dHhBOjkBS4— UFC (@ufc) July 6, 2019 Now 10-0 as a professional with nine of those victories coming inside the opening three-and-a-half minutes, Shahbazyan is quickly proving himself to be a problem in the middleweight division. It’s impossible to forecast where his ceiling lies at this point because every time you think he’s going to be tested, “The Golden Boy” aces his latest exam and shows another wrinkle to his expanding game.With three wins in his rookie campaign (and four in the last 12 months), Shahbazyan is undeniably one of the top newcomers in the division and one of the brightest prospects on the entire roster.10. An excellent debut for Julia AvilaJulia Avila turned in a dominant effort in her UFC debut, outworking recent TUF finalist Pannie Kianzad in the opening bout of the evening.After a back-and-forth first round, the Oklahoma native cranked up the intensity midway through the second, stinging Kianzad with a powerful combination that backed her into the fence. In the third, Avila dropped the Iranian-born veteran, following her to the canvas where she controlled the action for the remainder of the frame. The annual International Fight Week pay-per-view in Las Vegas is always positioned to be one of the biggest events of the year, but it hasn’t always worked out that way. In fact, more often than naught, something funky has happened to alter the lineup, usually at the 11th hour.Five years ago, Stefan Struve was pulled from the event just prior to his fight after having a panic attack in the dressing room, resulting in UFC 175 featuring a four-fight main card. A year later, Jose Aldo was forced out of his highly anticipated, heavily promoted featherweight title fight with Conor McGregor less than two weeks before the event. Dropped! #UFC239 pic.twitter.com/TfhJDtR6pe— UFC (@ufc) July 6, 2019 While there were little experience miscues along the way, this was an excellent performance for a UFC rookie. Kianzad is a tough out who has faced very good competition throughout her career and Avila outclassed her from start to finish. With a couple more fights, some more seasoning and further improvements, the 31-year-old newcomer could work her way into contention in the bantamweight ranks.