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6/28/16: Five Best UFC Title Fights on July 2016 Schedule
The UFC’s July schedule features six overall events with a whopping seven title fights combined, putting every belt on the line save the recently defended Middleweight Title, Bantamweight Title, and Heavyweight Title (with an Interim Title fight coming in the featherweight field). With that in mind, today we list which five stand out from the remaining two.
5. Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes (UFC 200): Amanda Nunes has looked mostly great in her UFC run, save for a third round loss to Cat Zingano. That’s something she has in common with the champ, and she’s going to be as dangerous a challenger as Tate could have possibly faced. It’s a risk for Tate with the money fights potentially out there in the Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey rematches, but it establishes how good she is in 2016 if she can win this fight as well. It’s just a great fight at 135 lbs. in the women’s division, and is one of many great fights on the UFC 200 card.
4. Rafael dos Anjos vs. Eddie Alvarez (UFC Fight Night 90): Eddie Alvarez isn’t the most deserving or most thrilling title contender in the 155 lb. division, but this is still one of those fights that we haven’t yet seen that holds a lot of interest and intrigue. Alvarez has been in some of the sport’s great wars in his two fights with Michael Chandler, and he simply hasn’t had an opponent force him into that style of fight in the UFC. Dos Anjos is not going to be controlled, and Alvarez is going to have to fight for every moment in this one. That makes for a fantastic dynamic in a title fight, and it’s one of the best fights to ever be put on UFC Fight Pass.
3. Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar (UFC 200): The “Interim” label and Aldo’s December loss to Conor McGregor knock this one down a few notches, but it’s a fight we’ve been waiting for since Edgar started completely dominating just about everyone he fought after his loss to Aldo. Edgar’s ascendance back to title contention has brought some of his best performances and most thrilling career highlights, and he’s more than deserving of a shot at the top spot in the division. Aldo was the best ever seen at 145 lbs., and getting felled by the young Irishman doesn’t change that. This is as important a bounce back fight as he could have outside of the McGregor rematch, and the stakes for both make this a fantastic fight.
2. Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier (UFC 200): Yes, this is the biggest title fight of the month from a business standpoint (though it’s getting a significant boost from the return of Brock Lesnar), but the fact is we saw this fight 18 months ago. It wasn’t the most thrilling fight, and though it was somewhat competitive it was still mostly all Jones’ fight. He should be expected to win the rematch, and he probably will, even if Cormier believes he’s got it in him to beat Jones this time around. There’s a feeling that the fight is missing something significant, and the reality that Jones’ legal troubles are the only reason this rematch is happening doesn’t help. Still, it’s a good fight, and it’s headlining perhaps the UFC’s biggest show of the summer.
1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha (The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale): It’s not the biggest – Jones-Cormier rightfully holds that spot despite the aforementioned reasons it’s somewhat lacking – but Jedrzejczyk-Gadelha is the best fight of the bunch. The first fight between the two strawweights was extremely close, and it remains the only loss on Gadelha’s record. After their feud intensified throughout filming on The Ultimate Fighter, the personal nature of the matchup only grew greater. From a matchup standpoint, it’s as good as we’ve got on the schedule all month, and it very well could wind up being one of the better women’s bouts the UFC has ever hosted. For that and more, it’s the title fight I’m most anticipating in July.
[Photo (c) Tom Heitman via USA Today Sports]
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