As if the hangover following UFC 276 wasn’t enough, the rest of the month of July is absolutely stacked with an unbelievable number of both high and low-level MMA. First, let’s recap everything that went down last week.
International Fight Week
As if it wasn’t enough for the biggest card of the year to be going down last weekend, the PFL blessed us with the first round of their Welterweight & Women’s Lightweight Tournaments, which saw Kayla Harrison look every bit the -10000 favorite that she was against WMMA Pioneer Kaitlin Young. With all the respect in the world for Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg, Harrison looks like a World Eater in her current form, and it is clear that the PFL is only continuing to hold her back by not allowing her to compete with the two previously mentioned legends. The card also saw Rory MacDonald continue to slip further into mediocrity as he was upset by Sadibou Sy, who continues to the Playoffs. Magomed Magomedkerimov also made it back into the green as he defeated Dilano Taylor in R2, meaning he just misses out on the Playoffs to Magomed Umalatov.
International Fight Week couldn’t have begun any better, Vegas was buzzing with fighters, media, and fans, as UFC X and UFC 276 went down. The card couldn’t have begun any better, with an amazing first-round arm bar from Julia Stoliarenko over MMA Twitter’s crush, Jessica-Rose Clark, and a competitive fifteen-minute bout between Maycee Barber and Jessica Eye. Eye would retire from MMA, being only the first fighter to retire on Saturday, as Cowboy Cerrone would also lay down his gloves after suffering a R2 submission from Jim Miller. Miller is now clear at the top of both the UFC’s Total Win and Total Fight records, as well as most submission attempts, with Charles Oliveira only six attempts behind him. Cerrone retires tied with Oliveira for Most Bonuses. However, things would soon take a turn, as the long-awaited Pedro Munhoz vs. Sean O’Malley bout was called off in the second round after a very uneventful first due to an accidental eye poke on O’Malley’s part.
However, somehow this made the next three bouts shine even brighter, as Bryan Barbarena brutalized Robbie Lawler in the second round, leading to Barbarena getting the TKO, Sean Strickland got hit by a train disguised as a left hook from Alex Pereira, and Alexander Volkanovski… What can I say except, “Bravo!” The only man to completely shut out Max Holloway, Volk was on another level as he called for a shot at the Lightweight Belt, promising to keep both divisions busy. The night was marred by a lacklustre performance by Israel Adesanya that saw fans leaving before the fifth round had even begun. Adesanya is now tied with Volkanovski and Kamaru Usman for the second-worst finishing rate of active UFC Champions, with Carla Esparza being the only one worse. The once unstoppable Adesanya has just one finish in his last six fights, but at least this was a clearer decision than his performance at UFC 271 back in February.
Long Island, Breakfast Tea
Invicta FC 48: Tennant vs. Rubin eases us back into the swing of things as Taneisha Tennant aims to defend her Bantamweight Title. An unmissable, Rio vs. Saõ Paulo card goes down in Saõ Paulo at LFA 136, as a taster to what feels like UFC Vegas 10284875: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev. Finally, we get to see who the best Rafael in the UFC is! Cody Garbrandt vs. Rani Yahya was supposed to be the Co-Main until Yahya was forced to pull out due to injury. July 16th, however, live from Long Island, New York, features one of the most anticipated Featherweight bouts in recent history, as Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez face off in the Main Event, presumably for an opportunity against Volkanovski. Shane Burgos and Charles Jourdain will open the main card of this event, in a bout that can produce only fireworks between these two dogs. Jingliang Li also makes his return to the Octagon for the first time since he was manhandled by a seemingly feral Khamzat Chimaev last October.
The penultimate weekend in July (18/7) is absolutely bonkers, with ONE 159 hosting both Reinier de Ridder and Janet Todd defending their respective LHW and STRW belts against Vitaly Bigdash and Lara Fernandez on a Friday morning. Later that day, Cage Warriors 141 goes down in London, with Kyle Driscoll vs. George Hardwick competing for the vacant LW belt as a precursor to UFC London 2! Bellator 283 is also scheduled for later that night, and features Douglas Lima (#3) vs. Jason Jackson in a #1 Contender’s Main Event, as Usman Nurmagomedov (talk about powerful names) aims to keep his record clean and secure a title shot, as he takes on Chris Gonzalez.
UFC London 2: Aspinall vs. Blaydes, is one of the most stacked Eurocentric cards ever, as Tom Aspinall aims to join a very exclusive alongside Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis by becoming only the third man to defeat Blaydes in MMA. Darren Till also returns to competition against Jack Hermansson, desperate to end his losing streak, with his last win coming against Kelvin Gastelum back at UFC 244. The card also features Alexander Gustafsson’s comeback fight against Nikita Krylov, Paul Craig vs. Volkan Oezdemir which could put either man back into title contention, and Paddy Pimblett vs. Jordan Leavitt who has threatened to twerk on Paddy’s unconscious body to “start a riot”. This card is pure violence from top to bottom, and an absolute must-watch, and as if that wasn’t enough, KSW 72: Romanowski vs. Grzebyk is also going down at the same time!
“No, dude, I’m just chilling out this weekend, I’m still recovering from last week.”
Thankfully, we will see out the final stretch of July with only three events. The first is the Season Premiere of Dana White’s Contender Series (which surely must now be more popular than TUF), but details on the card remain slim. Next, on Saturday, we have the return of LFA to California for LFA 137: Gibson vs. Amil, as the UFC returns to Texas, where Julianna Peña aims to become the only woman to defeat Amanda Nunes twice and keep her 135lb belt. Former BW Champ, Brandon Moreno also returns to action in an Interim Title bout against the seemingly unstoppable, Kai Kara-France, who appears dead-set on revenge.
Make sure to keep up with us for everything going on in the Summer of Violence!
Summer of Violence – July
- UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev
- LFA 136: Rio de Janeiro vs. vs. São Paulo
- UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Rodriguez
- Invicta FC 48: Tennant vs. Rubin
- ONE Championship 159: De Ridder vs. Bigdash
- CW 141: Cage Warriors 141
- Bellator 283: Lima vs. Jackson
- UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Aspinall
- KSW 72: Romanowski vs. Grzebyk
- Dana White’s Contender Series: Season 6, Week 1
- LFA 137: Gibson vs. Amil
- UFC 277: Peña vs. Nunes 2
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