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6/29/16: Five Best Non-Title UFC Fights on July 2016 Schedule
The UFC’s July 2016 schedule is ridiculously stacked, so after parsing out the best title fights of the seven coming on six UFC events, today we’re looking at the month’s five best fights with no title on the line.
5. Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (UFC 201): Namajunas has made significant strides over the course of her last several fights, and wants to get another crack at the UFC Strawweight Championship. Kowalkiewicz has proven to be a legitimately talented and effective combatant, and undefeated at 30-years-old feels her time to make a run is at the present as well. It’s a contender’s fight between two very good strawweights, and it could be one of the best fights on an otherwise underwhelming UFC 201 card in Atlanta.
4. Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne (UFC 200): Velasquez is fighting someone not named “Bigfoot” Silva, Junior dos Santos, or Fabricio Werdum for the first time since beating Brock Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight Championship back in October of 2010. That in itself makes this a highly interesting fight. He’s had nothing but injury issues over the last several years, and it could have played a part in him losing the title last June. Now, he tries to get back in the win column against a tough but beatable fighter in Browne, while Browne tries to make a push for a title fight of his own with a win over a former Champ. Lots on the line here, and it’s just a really good heavyweight matchup.
3. Edson Barboza vs. Gilbert Melendez (UFC on Fox 20): Gilbert Melendez returns for the first time after his suspension, and for the first time since a close loss to Eddie Alvarez, next month’s UFC Lightweight Title challenger. He’s taking on the man who defeated former UFC Champion Anthony Pettis in his last outing, whom Melendez lost to in his second attempt to capture that title. This is a fight between two exciting and highly skilled 155 lb. fighters, and should be the best fight on the Chicago card.
2. Michael McDonald vs. John Lineker (UFC Fight Night 91): The new main event in South Dakota is a fantastically thrilling matchup between two of the best in the bantamweight division. McDonald returned earlier this year after a lengthy absence, and shook the rust off in a nice win over Masenori Kanehara. Lineker’s been fantastic in his two fights since jumping up to bantamweight, and if he can get past a former title challenger he might put himself in line for his own title fight real soon.
1. T.J. Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao (UFC 200): The actual No. 1 contender fight in the UFC’s bantamweight division, former champ Dillashaw is fighting to avenge a close split decision loss from 2013 in order to get a rematch of a close split decision loss he suffered to Dominick Cruz in January. Seeing as he should have won that decision, a win here makes Dillashaw the only next opponent for Dominick Cruz, and he’ll have a good chance to win back that title he’d won in Cruz’s absence in 2014. This is a fantastic fight, and it’s a little crazy it’s as far down on the UFC 200 lineup as it is.
[Photo (c) Bill Streicher via USA Today Sports]
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