Fans of the UFC will have a lot to look out for this summer, as the MMA promotion has lined up many shows, from UFC 275 on June 11 to UFC 277 on July 30, with many fight nights in between. A total of 6 titles will be on the line, and numerous contenders will face off to be the next ones to fight for the belt. The UFC summer schedule is not finalized by any means, as there are still empty dates from June to July and the entire month of August where we may see new matchups take place as contracts are signed.
UFC 275: The first pay-per-view event of the summer starts the season off strong, as the UFC holds its first-ever event in Singapore. The Brazilian legend of the sport, Glover Texeira, looks to defend his light-heavyweight title for the first time against the young and surging Czech striker, Jiri Prochazka. Just before that, Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko looks to defend her title for the 7th time as she takes on Taila Santos, who is riding high on her 4-fight win streak. To warm the crowd up before the title fight, Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk will fight in the rematch to 2020’s fight of the year, which saw the two women duel it out across 5 rounds. The winner of this fight will be next up for a shot at the strawweight title.
UFC 276: The second pay-per-view of the summer takes place back in Nevada and will put title on the line, as well as immense matchups that are sure to make waves across many weight divisions. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya makes his return to the octagon for the second time this year after “defeating” Robert Whittaker back in February (Whittaker 3-2). The active champion will look to defend his title for the 5th time against the hard-hitting former heavyweight, Jared Cannonier. In a unique stylistic matchup, it will be interesting to see if Adesanya can contend with Cannonier across all aspects of MMA. The second title fight of the night will see the 3rd match between current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway. Volkanovski won the featherweight title off of Holloway back in 2019 and defended it against Holloway again the following year. Both fights were close scrapes, with the unanimous and split decisions going to Volkanovski. The two have been set to fight again, as both fighters have cleaned out the rest of the Featherweight contenders, including Brian Ortega, Calvin Kattar, Korean Zombie and Yair Rodriguez, with relative ease.
Other fights that fans are looking toward include the return of Sean O’Malley as he takes on Pedro Munhoz for a chance at climbing the ranks of the bantamweight division. A sleeper matchup which I think will contend for a possible fight of the night, if Volkanovski versus Holloway does not take it, is Brad Riddell taking on Jalin Turner, as the two are hard- hitting and very technical lightweight strikers. It is a fight to look out for and one that will likely make a mark on the division rankings.
UFC 277: The last pay-per-view of the summer so far will host the immediate rematch of Amanda Nunes versus Julianna Peña for the women’s bantamweight belt, which Peña won earlier this year in one of the biggest upsets ever in the UFC. Next up is former men’s flyweight champion Brandon Moreno taking on Kai Kara France in a rematch 3 years in the making. The fight will be for the interim Flyweight title as the champion Deividson Figueireido sustained an injury before he was set to fight Moreno for the 4th time in a row. The card does not stop there, as the fan favorite heavyweight and knockout artist Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis makes his return against a younger Russian knockout artist, Sergei Pavlovich. This fight may set the pace for the rest of Lewis’ career, as he is coming off of two knockout defeats in a row. Another return, this one a lot longer in the making, is the return of former middleweight champion and self-renowned “Samurai,” Luke Rockhold, as he faces off against Paulo Costa (Brazilian Ricky Martin on steroids). This fight should be an interesting one on the feet if Rockhold has learned to guard his chin during his 3-year layoff and if Costa decides to not weigh in at light-heavyweight for a middleweight fight. In a more serious fight, veteran Anthony Smith will take on the surging Russian Magomed Ankalaev in a light-heavyweight fight that will place either fighter within title contention, as the two are on 3- and 8-fight win streaks respectively.
Fight Nights: Throughout the summer, the UFC fight nights are plentiful, making weekends between PPVs more exciting as the headliners seek to make a statement in their respective divisions. Here are a few fights and dates to watch out for to see exciting fights.
June 4: Volkov vs Rozenstruik: Literally the only fight scheduled for the night so far and it is two weeks away from the time I am writing this. I do not know if the UFC will pull an entire card out of thin air, but the headlining fight between these two UFC veteran heavyweights should either be a snooze fest or a show as the two boast impressive striking backgrounds.
June 18: Kattar vs Emmett: The headline fight will likely be fireworks, as the two featherweights are heavy-handed strikers with the ability to end a fight within a blink. The veterans Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon will be taking to the cage for what hopefully is the last fight for both.
July 9: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev: The headline match-up has been a long-awaited one as it is a rescheduling of a fight that was set for earlier this year. Veteran Rafael Dos Anjos will take on Rafael Fiziev to determine who is the better Rafael. In seriousness, this fight will have massive implications for both fighters as they are title-hungry competitors who want to carve out their names in the lightweight division. Keep your eyes open, as Fiziev’s striking is lightning-fast and will be put to its hardest test to date with the always well-rounded and hard-hitting Dos Anjos. Caio Borralho will also take to the cage against Armen Petrosyan. I do not know much about either fighter, but the two have put on amazing fights in their very short MMA careers from what I have seen and are hungry, dangerous and undefeated in the UFC.
July 23: Blaydes vs Aspinall: This London fight night is essentially a small PPV event as the O2 Arena in London is sure to be explosive on this night. Scotsman Paul Craig will look to add to his 4-fight win streak against Volkan Oezdemir in a light-heavyweight bout. UFC veteran Alexander Gustafsson will be coming out of retirement to take on Nikita Krylov at light-heavyweight. Molly “Meatball” McCann will look to stun her home crowd again this year as she takes on Hannah Goldy in her second London event of the year. Her last fight ended in one of the most brutal spinning elbow knockouts the UFC has ever seen. Liverpool native Darren Till will take on Jack Hermansson in a stylistically unfavorable matchup for Till but a good fight to display the improved grappling ability he has developed training with Khamzat Chimaev. Both fighters are coming off losses and need wins to keep a respectable ranking among the very talented middleweight division. Tom Aspinall will headline his second London fight of the year, as the young and composed Englishman will take on veteran Curtis Blaydes at heavyweight. Aspinall has looked untouchable on his way through the rankings, finding his place at #6 in the world. Curtis Blaydes, long-time contender and world-class wrestler, sits at the #4 spot. Aspinall has been undefeated in his 5 UFC fights so far and has never gone past the 2nd round, finishing all of his fights. Blaydes is coming off a 2-fight win streak and looks to make his claim at a title shot with another victory. The winner of this fight will either need one more fight to earn a title shot or get moved right along to contend for Francis Ngannou’s belt.