July 6, 2016

UFC 200 Week: Three Nights, Five Title Fights

By Adam Martin

Never before in UFC history have five title fights been so closely bunched together, but that's what will happen at International Fight Week.

This week, three undisputed champions will defend their belts, one title unification bout will be held, and an interim title will also be up for grabs at the three events that are a part of this weekend's festivities: UFC Fight Night 90, the TUF 23 Finale, and UFC 200.

Below are the championship fights, and what you need to know about them:

UFC Lightweight Championship Bout: Rafael dos Anjos (C) vs. Eddie Alvarez -- UFC Fight Night 90

RDA aims for a second straight title defense when he takes on Alvarez in a title fight that's flying under the radar. Normally this is a fight that could headline a pay-per-view, but with so many other big fights this week, this bout will instead headline UFC Fight Night 90 on UFC Fight Pass. Even with little fanfare, though, fans can expect a hell of a fight between these two lightweight warriors. RDA has won five straight fights and Alvarez has won two straight fights, and with both men at the top of their game, fans should expect nothing less than an ultra-competitive fight that will determine who the best lightweight fighter in the world is.

UFC Women's Strawweight Championship Bout: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (C) vs. Claudia Gadelha -- TUF 23 Finale

TUF 23 coaches and bitter rivals Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha look to settle their score when they meet in the main event of the TUF 23 Finale. Jedrzejczyk, the champ, has been incredible in her UFC run so far, but the one time she did look human was when she fought Gadelha, winning a close split decision that set her up for her title run. Despite losing that night, Gadelha has remained committed to improving her game and has looked fantastic the last few times we've seen her. If you've watched TUF 23, you know that Gadelha has gotten into Jedrzejczyk's head, and that's not easy to do. Jedrzejczyk is the best striker in the division and Gadelha is the best grappler, and this rematch should be a close, competitive fight like their first meeting was.

UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship Bout: Miesha Tate (C) vs. Amanda Nunes -- UFC 200

Fresh off her title victory over Holly Holm, Tate makes her first title defense against Nunes. Tate has won five straight fights and has really upped her game, but Nunes is a dangerous opponent who herself is riding a hot streak, having won her last three fights in a row. Tate is known for her durability and wrestling, while Nunes is known for her striking and knockout power. As the champion, Tate is the undisputed favorite heading into this fight, but Nunes is one of the most dangerous first-round fighters in the women's division, making for a very intriguing matchup. In
a division where the title has changed hands frequently over the last year, don't be shocked if it happens again.

UFC Interim Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar -- UFC 200

With UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in a welterweight superfight, the UFC created an interim featherweight title, and Aldo and Edgar will rematch for it at UFC 200. These two previously met at UFC 157, with Aldo taking a close unanimous decision over Edgar. At the time, Aldo, the former longtime UFC Featherweight Champion, was seemingly unstoppable, but after getting KO'd by McGregor in just 13 seconds, it will be interesting to see how he comes back. As for Edgar, since the loss to Aldo he's reeled off five straight wins and overall has looked outstanding. The first fight between these two was a highly technical, entertaining fight, and this rematch has the chance to be even better.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Unification Bout: Daniel Cormier (C) vs. Jon Jones (IC) -- UFC 200

And finally, the crown jewel of all the title fights and the last fight of the weekend is the light heavyweight title unification fight between DC and Jones. The two rivals will finally put an end to their feud on the biggest stage of the year, and this has the potential to be an amazing fight. Jones beat DC at UFC 182 in a "Fight of the Night" performance to cement his place as the #1 LHW in the world, but after having his title stripped due to legal issues, he'll be looking to get his belt back from DC, who took home the title against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. Jones recently won the interim belt against Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197, and it will be weird seeing him not the "true" champion against DC, but that should really fire Jones up. Although he didn't look great against OSP, Jones remains the top P4P fighter in MMA. Cormier has bounced back from the loss to Jones with big wins over Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, and he has improved, but Jones seemed to have his number the first time these two fought. It will be interesting to see what adjustments DC has made and what Jones looks to do to counter those adjustments in the main event of UFC 200. In a week full of amazing fights, this is the best of the bunch, and certainly has the potential to be "Fight of the Year."


UFC Fight Night 90: Dos Anjos vs. Alvarez takes place on July 7, 2016 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC Fight Night 90 will be.

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.

Click the stars to rate how good you think the TUF 23 Finale will be.

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.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 200 will be.

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