Having no major combat sports events this weekend means we are ramping up for some major fights in July. Going in order of dates, here’s a look at some of the best fights you won’t want to miss.
Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson – UFC 264: July 10
Two of the nicest (and baddest) dudes in the sport have agreed to throw down at UFC 264 on July 10. Gilbert Burns (@GilbertDurinho) vs. Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) has been verbally agreed to, per Dana White (@danawhite). pic.twitter.com/Lv5uEsxqRb
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 3, 2021
The co-main event of UFC 264 is a pivotal matchup in the welterweight division, as Stephen Thompson battles Gilbert Burns. At 38-years of age, this is likely Thompson’s (16-4-1) last chance at a UFC championship. The Upstate Karate Product has gone 2-2 in his last four fights and has fought just four times since the beginning of 2018 as injuries have hindered “Wonderboy” for the latter half of his career. For Burns (19-4) it’s a fast track back to the 170-pound contender’s seat after coming off his TKO loss to former teammate and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 258.
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier III – UFC 264: July 10
A 𝑻𝑹𝑰𝑳𝑶𝑮𝒀 is on the horizon.
— UFC (@ufc) June 28, 2021
The UFC 264 headliner will conclude the rivalry between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier on July 10. McGregor (22-4) looks to avoid back-to-back setbacks for the first time in his career as he’s coming off a knockout loss to Poirier at UFC 257. Meanwhile Poirier (27-6) looks to push his winning streak to three straight as the 32-year-old has won six of his last seven fights.
Adrian Yanez vs. Randy Costa – UFC Fight Night: July 24
Randy Costa vs. Adrian Yanez set for UFC event on July 24
— Mike Heck (@MikeHeck_JR) April 27, 2021
Two of the hottest up-and-coming prospects in the bantamweight division go to war on July 24th as Adrian Yanez battles Randy Costa. Yanez (13-3) has won two straight fights by knockout in the Octagon so far and has amassed an impressive six-fight win streak in the process. The 27-year-old has only gone the distance once in his last six fights. Costa (6-1) is also coming off two straight knockout wins over Boston Salmon and Journey Newson and has never gone to the judge’s scorecards in his seven-fight career. Expect this matchup to be an early candidate for “Fight of the Night”
TJ Dillashaw vs. Cory Sandagen – UFC Fight Night: July 24
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 19, 2021
Originally scheduled for May 8th, this main event is one of the most interesting matchups we’ll see this year. Sandhagen (14-2) is coming off two massive TKO wins over Marlon Moraes and Franke Edgar, which pushed his UFC record to 7-1 overall. The former bantamweight champion Dillashaw (16-4) will be competing for the first time since January 2019 since he was suspended for PED’s. The 34-year-old is coming off a 32-second knockout loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC on ESPN+1 and will be looking for his first win since August 2018.
Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire (c) vs. AJ McKee – Bellator 263: July 31
Patricio "Pitbull" Freire and AJ McKee will meet at Bellator 263 on July 31 in Inglewood, CA, the promotion announced.
The bout serves as the final round of Bellator's Featherweight World Grand Prix, with the winner taking home the promotion's 145-pound title and $1 million 💰 pic.twitter.com/b9vxTi1h6J
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 16, 2021
Dare I say, this may be the best fight in Bellator MMA history. Two division champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire defends his featherweight title against undefeated phenom AJ McKee. Freire (32-4) carries a seven-fight win streak into the matchup, including three-first round finishes over the likes of Michael Chandler, Pedro Carvalho and Emmanuel Sanchez. The 26-year-old McKee (17-0) has finished five of his last six opponents and will look to push his winning streak to 18 in a row.