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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 in the world of mixed martial arts and look ahead to the week that is. What a week it was, with UFC 264 now in the books, and there was plenty of news that came out over the past week. Let’s dive right in.

Looking Back at UFC 264

  • The end of UFC 264 was anti-climatic, with Dustin Poirier getting the win over Conor McGregor after McGregor suffered a broken tibia at the end of the first round. Poirier was dominating in the first, but, at the same time, you just never know what could happen in the second round. After all of the talk, it wasn’t a fully definitive finish, and it leaves the door open for a fourth fight down the line. McGregor is going to be out for probably a year, and while the temptation would be to make the fourth fight as soon as he’s ready, he really should fight someone else next. The worst of McGregor came out this week, and bringing the wives and family into the trash talk was really crossing the line. Hopefully, McGregor will take his time off and stay out of the spotlight (fat chance) and change the way he approaches things, because he’s really leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.
  • The plan going into last night’s main event was for the winner to challenge UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira for the title in December. It was clear afterwards that Poirier will be fighting Oliveira next, and December looks like a good timeline for that fight to take place. It also feels like it’ll be a big fight since Poirier has come off like such a superstar in front of large audiences in the last two McGregor fights, and he’s super easy to root for.
  • UFC 264 did feel like a big-time event, and if what Dana White said ends up being true, it looks to have done the second-biggest pay-per-view number in UFC history. There were lots of great showings, and Tai Tuivasa may have made himself into a superstar between his entrance, his one-minute knockout of Greg Hardy, his post-fight interview, and, of course, doing all of the Shoeys around the arena. Other fighters who shined were Irene Aldana, Ilia Topuria and Dricus Du Plessis.
  • Sean O’Malley also came off like a superstar at UFC 264. He was one of the most popular fighters on the show, as he got huge reactions all week, including during his walkout and when he was being introduced. He turned in a fantastic performance, even against a late-notice fighter he was supposed to beat. He landed 230 significant strikes, which is the second-most for a three-round fight in UFC history. This was his official star-making performance that they were looking for when they put him on the card.
  • Speaking of Greg Hardy, end his UFC experiment. He was knocked out in just over a minute, even though he did have Tai Tuivasa in trouble for a split-second. He has zero wins over heavyweights who are on the UFC roster, he’s arrogant, he’s never owned up to his past, he makes six-figures a fight, and, he’s just not very good at this sport and doesn’t look like he’ll ever improve. The worst part is they force him onto fans who don’t want to watch him by putting him in co-main events and spots high on the card. Just let him go; no one will miss him.
  • The return of Nick Diaz will take place at UFC 266 on September 25, which will take place in Las Vegas. He will be fighting Robbie Lawler in a rematch of a famous fight that took place way back at UFC 44 in April 2004, which Diaz won. It really is the perfect fight for him to come back to after not having fought since January 2015. The fight isn’t 100% official, but, as of last word, it was about 95% done, with just a few things on the UFC end to finish up, so, barring something unexpected, it will happen as the co-main event at the T-Mobile Arena.
  • The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced this week that they will no longer discipline fighters for failing drug tests for marijuana. That was welcomed news and it’s about time they stopped, and hopefully, other states follow suit. I wonder if it was just a coincidence that Nick Diaz’ return was announced for Las Vegas the same day this news was announced.
  • Khamzat Chimaev’s return was announced for UFC 267, which takes place on October 30 in Abu Dhabi. He will be facing Li Jingliang. It is not as high-profile of a fight like Chimaev had been rumored for, but this feels like a good fight to make to test Chimaev, and Jingliang is a solid fighter.
  • Two nice main events were announced this week for upcoming UFC cards, as Edson Barboza and Giga Chikadze headline the August 28 card, and Marina Rodriguez and Mackenzie Dern will headline the October 9 card. The fight between Rodriguez and Dern is a big one, as it could have title shot implications riding on it. It will be the first main event each for Chikadze and Dern, which is good as the UFC attempts to build up more fighters who could headline some of these smaller shows.
  • Tony Ferguson will be returning to action before the year is up, as Dana White said they have a fight lined up for him. No word when it will take place or against whom, but it shows Ferguson still isn’t done fighting despite his three-fight losing skid.
  • Cody Garbrandt is officially moving to the flyweight division. He is currently slated to fight Kai Kara-France in his 125-lbs. debut. There is no date set for when that fight will take place.
  • A couple of updates on UFC title fights in the works: The rematch between UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan is currently expected to take place at UFC 267 on October 30, though it is not yet signed. They are trying to load up that show, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s three title fights on the card. The rematch between UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will take place before the end of 2021.
  • Dana White officially said, outside of a few special events, that the rest of the Fight Night events in 2021 will take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, and it could end up becoming a regular venue for Fight Night events in the future, especially as COVID-19 concerns still exist around the world. They are working on setting up a deal to where they can sell either tickets, or VIP packages, to fans for these events, with talks of up to potentially 2,500 fans being able to attend shows there in the future.

Playing matchmaker

Here are some fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC 264 on Saturday night:

  • Dustin Poirier vs. Charles Oliveira
  • Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz
  • Gilbert Burns vs. Leon Edwards
  • Stephen Thompson vs. Belal Muhammad
  • Tai Tuivasa vs. Walt Harris
  • Irene Aldana vs. Aspen Ladd-Macy Chiasson winner
  • Sean O’Malley vs. Frankie Edgar
  • Max Griffin vs. Tim Means
  • Michel Pereira vs. Matt Brown
  • Ilia Topuria vs. Seung Woo Choi
  • Dricus Du Plessis vs. Andre Muniz
  • Jennifer Maia vs. Alexa Grasso
  • Brad Tavares vs. Jack Hermansson

Fight announcements

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

  • Daniel Rodriguez vs. Preston Parsons — UFC Fight Night — July 17
  • Diana Belbita vs. Hannah Goldy — UFC Fight Night — July 24
  • Ryan Benoit vs. Zarrukh Adashev — UFC Fight Night — July 31
  • Rafael Fiziev vs. Bobby Green — UFC 265 — August 7
  • Cortney Casey vs. Liana Jojua — UFC Fight Night — August 21
  • Edson Barboza vs. Giga Chikadze — UFC Fight Night — August 28 (MAIN EVENT)
  • Alex Perez vs. Matt Schnell — UFC Fight Night — August 28
  • Paddy Pimblett vs. Luigi Vendramini — UFC Fight Night — September 4
  • Jack Shore vs. Said Nurmagomedov — UFC Fight Night — September 4
  • Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler — UFC 266 — September 25
  • Jimmy Crute vs. Jamahal Hill — UFC Fight Night — October 2
  • Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus — UFC Fight Night — October 2
  • Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Gaetano Pirrello — UFC Fight Night — October 2
  • Marina Rodriguez vs. Mackenzie Dern — UFC Fight Night — October 9 (MAIN EVENT)
  • Alexandr Romanov vs. Jared Vanderaa — UFC Fight Night — October 9
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Carlos Felipe — UFC Fight Night — October 16
  • Maryna Moroz vs. Luana Carolina — UFC Fight Night — October 16
  • Ariane Carnelossi vs. Istela Nunes — UFC Fight Night — October 16
  • Khamzat Chimaev vs. Li Jingliang — UFC 267 — October 30
  • Amanda Ribas vs. Virna Jandiroba — UFC 267 — October 30

Here are some of the major MMA events taking place this week:

  • UFC On ESPN 26 takes place on Saturday, July 17, from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The entire card airs on ESPN, with the main card at 10 PM eastern time and the prelims at 7:00 ET. Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises is the main event.
  • Bellator 262 takes place on Friday, July 16, from the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main card airs on Showtime at 9:00 p.m. ET and the prelims air on YouTube at 6:00 p.m. ET. Bellator Women’s Flyweight Champion Juliana Velasquez defends against Denise Kielholtz in the main event.
  • LFA 111 takes place on Friday, July 16, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
  • LFA 112 takes place on Saturday, July 17, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.

This Week in MMA History

On July 14, 2012, Strikeforce held what ended up being one of the final few events in the promotion’s history in their first-and-only event to be held in Portland, Oregon, a night which saw two titles on the line.

In the main event, Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold scored a unanimous decision win over Tim Kennedy to keep the title, which ended up being the final middleweight title fight in the promotion’s history. Both men would go on to move over to the UFC, and Rockhold eventually became a UFC Middleweight Champion.

In the co-main event, Nate Marquardt scored a fourth-round TKO win over Tyron Woodley to win the vacant Strikeforce Welterweight Championship. Marquardt would go on to fight in the very last fight in Strikeforce’s history, while Woodley would become a UFC Welterweight Champion in July 2016.

In the two other main card fights, Roger Gracie won a decision over Keith Jardine, and Lorenz Larkin won a decision over future UFC champion Robbie Lawler. Among the winners on the prelims were Pat Healy, Jason High, Ryan Couture and future UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal.

You can watch Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy on UFC Fight Pass here.

In The Clinch

This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look back at UFC 264 and everything that went down. We will also look ahead to UFC On ESPN 26, talk about the news and fight announcements over the past week and much more. You can listen to In The Clinch on The Fight Game Media Network, with our Patreon page found here.

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