For MMA fans out there the upcoming holiday weekend celebrating America’s independence doesn’t end on Monday, July 4. Rather, Dana White and Co. has extended the party through the following weekend as UFC 200 offers up an unprecedented fight card featuring five championship bouts.
Topping off the weekend at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is UFC 200 Cormier vs Jones 2 on Saturday, July 9. Three championship bouts and a heavyweight co-main hi-light the 12-round card that many consider the best promotion the UFC has put together in it’s storied history.
The event is headlined by the highly anticipated rematch between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier vs interim Champion Jon Jones. Cormier (17-1-0) is ranked No. 10 pound-for-pound, Jones (22-1-0) is the top-rated pound-for-pound fighter ranked in the UFC. Cormier’s lone defeat came via unanimous decision to the then-champion Jones in January 2015.
In the co-main event former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar returns to the octagon to face Mark Hunt. This fight will be quite the challenge for the 6-3, 265-pound Lesnar in that his last UFC fight was in 2011 and he’s facing the heavy-handed Hunt after a five-year layoff. Lesnar (5-3-0) is not ranked in the UFC, Hunt (12-10-1) is ranked No. 8 among UFC heavyweights.
In the second championship fight of the evening the women’s Strawweight Championship will be on the line as Miesha Tate makes the first defense of her title when she faces Amanda Nunes. Tate (18-5-0) won the belt via a technical decision due to a rear-naked choke in the fifth round over then-champion Holly Holm in March of this year. Nunes (12-4-0) is ranked No. 4 in the UFC women’s Strawweight division.
The interim UFC Featherweight Championship will be on the line as Brazilian Jose Aldo squares off against Frankie Edgar in the first championship bout of the evening. Aldo (25-2-0) is ranked No. 8 pound-for-pound in the UFC and No. 1 in the UFC Featherweight Division, Edgar (19-4-1) is ranked No. 10 pound-for-pound and No. 2 amongst the UFC Featherweights.
Headlining The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Friday, July 8 is Jedrzejczyk vs Gadelha 2 for the World Strawweight Championship. The two coaches from TUF season 23 face off as UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk puts her title on the line against Claudia Gadelha. Jedrzejczyk (11-0-0) ranks No. 12 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings, Gadelha (13-1-0) ranks No. 1 in UFC women’s Strawweight division. Gadelha’s only loss was to Jedrzejczyk via split decision in December 2014.
Kicking off the fight week festivities is UFC Fight Night Dos Anjos vs Alvarez on Thursday, July 7. UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos puts his title on the line against Eddie Alvarez on a card that can be viewed only on UFC Fight Pass. Dos Anjos (24-7-0) is the No. 5- ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, Alvarez (27-4-0) is the No. 2- ranked lightweight in the UFC.
Ringside: Per Mark La Monica (Newsday), here’s a few interesting numbers surrounding the fights — UFC 200 will feature 3 “Ultimate Fighter” winners in Diego Sanchez, Kelvin Gastelum and Julianna Pena; 3 fighters — Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar and Jim Miller — who have competed in both UFC 100 and UFC 200 (each won at UFC 100); 9 current or former champions on the card — Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Miesha Tate, Brock Lesnar, Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Cain Velasquez, Johny Hendricks and T.J. Dillashaw; 93 the number of fight bonuses in the careers of the fighters on the card.