Last year’s International Fight Week card, UFC 213, was somewhat of a disappointment, despite a great main event that featured Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. This year, it seems the UFC has big plans for the July UFC 226 card.
The card’s headliner is already set, and it’s an amazing one. UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defends his title against the current light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier. This fight has been brought up ever since the two fought on the same card at UFC 220 in January. At that event, both men walked in and out with their belts. The fight between the two champs was finalized not long after the January show. To promote their showdown, the pair will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, dubbed Undefeated, which features 16 undefeated fighters battling for the same goal.
So, with a solid headliner already in place, there’s plenty of talk about what else could be on this card. Let’s run down the list:
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega
At this point, everyone knows about Ortega, and everyone for sure knows about Holloway.
Since becoming the first man to finish Frankie Edgar at UFC 222, Ortega has been grabbing most of the attention in the featherweight division. But who is going to doubt Holloway at this point? The champ has won 12 straight and finished the greatest featherweight of all time, José Aldo, not once but twice.
These two are meeting at the perfect time. Neither man has tasted the bitterness of defeat in a long time. They’re both very young, and they seem to be unstoppable. There couldn’t be a better time for these two to square off than later this year, and UFC 226 is a strong possibility for the bout.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino vs. Amanda Nunes
Cyborg walked out with a first-round finish of her own at UFC 222. Her UFC women’s featherweight title reign so far has been as dominant as any. She has defeated all of her opponents in a destructive fashion except for one — Holly Holm. The main concern for Cyborg now isn’t even finding a challenging opponent who can give her a tough time. Rather, it’s simply finding someone who’s willing to get in there and test themselves against arguably the greatest female MMA fighter of all time.
Nunes does not seem to fear Cyborg, though. She’s stated multiple times that she wants to fight the featherweight champ. However, Nunes has recently been booked for UFC 225 to defend her women’s bantamweight crown against rising contender Raquel Pennington. The result of that fight will determine what’s going to happen with this potential fight.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Is there anyone who doesn’t want to watch this fight? It might easily be the greatest fight ever for the lower weight divisions. Just the match-up itself is enough to sell this fight. Neither of these guys are huge names or mega-stars at the same level as a Conor McGregor or Georges St-Pierre, but those who know about these men know what an amazing fight this is.
This fight was going to be huge regardless of Dillashaw’s status, but now that he is the bantamweight champion again, it could be promoted as a legitimate superfight.
At least one of these fights will probably get added to the UFC 226 lineup. Most likely, it’ll be the scrap between Holloway and Ortega. There is even a chance that all three fights will come to fruition, as it seems like the UFC wants to beef up the summer card this year. Stay ready, folks. This could easily turn into the best UFC event yet.
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