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Monday MMA Round-Up: Happy Memorial Day!

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: (L-R) Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes face off during the UFC 247 Press Conference at T-Mobile Arena on December 13, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of mixed martial arts. Major MMA organizations took Memorial Day weekend off this year, so there wasn’t much going on. Even still, let’s dive in.

Looking back at the week’s news

  • In what was probably the biggest news of the week, Jon Jones announced he will be working with veteran boxing promotor Richard Schaefer as his advisor going forward in setting up his future UFC fights. Schaefer is former CEO and co-founder of Golden Boy Promotions and has been involved in promoting boxing bouts for some of the biggest names in the sport. Schaefer also has an excellent relationship with Dana White, which should work in Jones’ favor going forward when it comes to finally reaching a deal between Jones and the UFC for his return. There are still hurdles to clear, and it remains to be seen if a deal can be made, as Jones also mentioned he expect to fight until 2022, but I view this as a positive move.
  • While not official, it appears UFC 265 on August 7 will be a quick return of the Octagon to Houston with Los Angeles being the alternative. While people may be wondering why the quick return to Houston, it is because the main event is expected to be headlined by UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis. Lewis is from Houston, so that is definitely the city the fight will draw the biggest crowd in. It makes sense, and Los Angeles doesn’t. The only thing stopping the event from being in Houston is hesitancy to return to the market so quickly.
  • Cities that are currently in the mix to hold a UFC pay-per-view event in 2021 include Boston, Dallas, Anaheim, Fort Lauderdale and Newark. The December pay-per-view event will likely be back in Las Vegas, as is tradition, and the October event has also been in Las Vegas the past few years, though that could not be the case this year just to branch out to other venues.
  • The August 14 event, a Fight Night event, is looking more-and-more likely that it will be held in London, though logistics and other things still need to be worked out.
  • Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez will both be returning to action in July when they meet in a five-round main event on the 7/17 UFC event. That is a massive main event for the winner, especially if it is Holloway, who will likely meet the winner of the upcoming title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. It also has potential to be Fight Of The Year.
  • Volkanovski and Ortega both did media rounds promoting the 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter, which debuts on June 1. Both replied to Colby Covington’s comment criticizing them as coaches, and Volkanovski told Covington to stop talking and start taking fights. He has a point; Covington continues to turn down fights while staying on the sidelines and running his mouth.
  • Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships announced this week that Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich will meet on their 7/23 card. It’s a rematch from their UFC bout in January 2019. VanZant won that bout, but this will obviously be a different fight with different set of rules.
  • For this week’s feel-good moment: Just over a month after his leg snapped in two at UFC 261, Chris Weidman posted a video of himself walking in his house. He still has a long way to go before even thinking about returning to fighting, but it’s great to see things like this, especially after such a horrific injury he suffered.

Here are some fights that were announced over the past week:

  • Dusko Todorovic vs. Gregory Rodrigues — UFC Fight Night — June 5
  • Makwan Amirkhani vs. Kamuela Kirk — UFC Fight Night — June 5
  • Aaron Pico vs. Aiden Lee — Bellator 260 — June 11
  • Nicolas Dalby vs. Sergey Khandozhko — UFC Fight Night — June 26
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Damir Hadzovic — UFC Fight Night — June 26
  • Niko Price vs. Michel Pereira — UFC 264 — July 10
  • Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez — UFC Fight Night — July 17 (MAIN EVENT)
  • Punahele Soriano vs. Brendan Allen — UFC Fight Night — July 24
  • Sijara Eubanks vs. Priscila Cachoeira — UFC Fight Night — July 24
  • Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chris Daukaus — UFC Fight Night — July 24
  • Doo Ho Choi vs. Danny Chavez — UFC Fight Night — July 31
  • Kyung Ho Kang vs. Rani Yahya — UFC Fight Night — July 31
  • Victoria Leonardo vs. Melissa Gatto — UFC 265 — August 7
  • Lerone Murphy vs. Charles Jourdain — UFC Fight Night — August 14
  • Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Marc-Andre Barriault — UFC Fight Night — August 14
  • Taila Santos vs. Mandy Bohm — UFC Fight Night — August 14
  • Ramiz Brahimaj vs. Sasha Palatnikov — UFC Fight Night — August 21

Here are some major MMA events coming up this week:

  • UFC On ESPN+ 47 kicks off the month of June for UFC. It takes place on Saturday, June 5 and airs from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The entire card airs on ESPN+, with the main card at 7:00 p.m. ET, and the prelims at 4:00 p.m. ET. Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai is the main event.
  • BFL 67 airs Friday, June 4, at 8:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • LFA 109 is on Friday, June 4, at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • KSW 61 airs Saturday, June 5, at 10:00 a.m. ET on FITE and KSWtv.com.

This week in MMA history

WEC 34

On June 1, 2008, one of the most important events in WEC history—and one of their biggest shows of all-time—took place when WEC 34 took place at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. Headlined by hometown hero Urijah Faber, the show drew a then WEC-record crowd of 12,682 fans, which ranked second overall in the promotion’s history for a total gate of $738,855. Even more impressive was the show’s record viewing audience on the Versus channel, with 1,540,000 viewers.

In the main event, the biggest star in WEC history, Sacramento’s own Faber successfully defended his WEC Featherweight Championship against former UFC champion Jens Pulver in the WEC’s biggest fight up to that point. In the end, Faber’s dominant performance earned him the decision win.

In the co-main event, WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres scored a TKO at the end of R3 over Yoshiro Maeda to retain the title.

It was a star-studded affair undercard, too, with UFC veterans like Mark Munoz and Mike Brown, former WEC and UFC title challenger Donald Cerrone, former WEC and UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, and, in his Zuffa debut, former WEC and UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo.

You can watch WEC 34 on UFC Fight Pass here.

In The Clinch

This week on In the Clinch, Paul Fontaine and I will preview this upcoming week’s UFC On ESPN+ 47 event, plus all of last month’s news and all of the upcoming stories you need to know for June. You can listen to In The Clinch on The Fight Game Media Network.

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