By Adam Martin
It’s going to be a really good summer for MMA fans, and the fun gets started during the first full week of July, as the UFC is holding International Fight Week in Las Vegas, a week that includes three UFC cards plus the Fan Expo.
The first is UFC Fight Night 90, which takes place on Thursday, July 7. The event, which takes place at MGM Grand Garden Arena, airs on UFC Fight Pass and is headlined by a lightweight title fight between UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos and challenger Eddie Alvarez. This is a fight that normally would headline a PPV card, but with so many other fights during this week, it headlines the Fight Pass event. But the fighters shouldn’t take that as a slight, as it’s clear the UFC is pushing its subscription-based service big-time, and it’s not a demotion as it would have been in the past.
The next night, on Friday, July 10, the TUF 23 Finale will go down at MGM Grand Garden Arena. In the main event, UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk takes on Claudia Gadelha in a rematch between bitter rivals. This is an excellent matchup between two of the best female fighters in the world and shouldn’t be missed. Also on this card, former Bellator Lightweight Champion Will Brooks makes his debut in the Octagon against veteran Ross Pearson. In addition, fighters like Doo Hoi Choi, John Moraga, and Jake Matthews will compete on this card, not to mention the finals of both TUF 23 tournaments, light heavyweights and women’s strawweights.
UFC 200, which will be the UFC’s welcome to the brand-new T-Mobile Arena. On paper, this is the best card the promotion has ever put together from top to bottom. It is truly an incredible fight card and could go down in MMA history as the best night of fights ever.
In the main event, UFC Interim Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones finally takes on archrival Daniel Cormier, the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, to unify the belts. These two were supposed to meet back at UFC 197, but an injury to DC pushed this fight back to UFC 200. The first fight between these two at UFC 182 was an amazing “Fight of the Night” bout, and this rematch should be tremendous as well. Jones and Cormier are the two best 205-pounders on the planet, and this fight has the potential to be an all-time classic.
second title fight sees UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate make her first title defense when she takes on the hard-hitting Amanda Nunes. This is a really intriguing fight between two extremely tough and dangerous female bantamweights that could really steal the show. The third title fight is an interim featherweight title fight between Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo. It’s a rematch, but the first fight between these two was great and this second fight, with the interim belt and maybe a chance to eventually unify the belt with UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor on the line, should be a high-level featherweight affair as well.
Also on the card, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar takes on Mark Hunt in the co-main event, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez fights Travis Browne, former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks takes on Kelvin Gastelum, former UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw fights Rafael Assuncao in a rematch, TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena takes on Cat Zigano, Sage Northcutt fights Enrique Marin, Jim Miller takes on Takanori Gomi, Gegard Mousasi fights Thiago Santos, and in the Fight Pass headliner, Joe Lauzon fights Diego Sanchez in what is sure to be a bloodbath. Every single fight on this card is good, and in totality they have the potential to be a part of the best night of fights ever.
It’s rare that MMA fans are treated to three events in one week, especially three cards with as many meaningful, exciting, and important matchups like those that will take place at UFC Fight Night 89, the TUF 23 Finale, and UFC 200. Along with the Fan Expo the same week, this is going to be an amazing seven days for MMA fans. Whether you’re in Vegas or watching from home, don’t miss these events, as next week is going to be amazing.
UFC Fight Night 90: Dos Anjos vs. Alvarez takes place on July 7, 2016 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale: Team Joanna vs. Team Claudia takes place on July 8, 2016 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 200: Tate vs. Nunes (formerly UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones 2, UFC 200: Lesnar vs. Hunt) takes place on July 9, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.