It’s a big month for the UFC as the company hosts six events over the next 30 days, including four title fights and the crowning of a new "Ultimate Fighter."
With all this action on hand, here's a list of 10 UFC fights fans can't miss in July and into August.
The main event might be different than it was originally planned to be because of Jose Aldo’s rib injury, but the excitement will still be there, as a new featherweight will hold UFC gold for the first time. Mendes tries to win the title on his third attempt (albeit an interim one) while McGregor is attempting to become the first Irish champion in UFC history.
Saturday's UFC 189 co-main event brings just as much action when Lawler makes the first defense of his UFC welterweight title in a rematch from November 2013 against MacDonald. In their first bout at UFC 167, Lawler landed 51 percent of his strikes to MacDonald’s 36 percent and landed a knockdown, while MacDonald scored four takedowns. Still, two of the three judges scored the fight for Lawler. MacDonald has been called the heir apparent to Georges St-Pierre and the result might go a long way in determining if GSP ever returns to reclaim the title he didn't lose in the Octagon.
Former Invicta FC women’s atomweight champion Waterson makes her UFC debut by moving up to the 115-pound division to take on TUF 20 contestant Magana. The 29-year old Waterson fights out of Jackson’s MMA and has won seven of her 12 fights by submission.
July 12 -- "The Ultimate Fighter" 21 Finale ("The Ultimate Fighter" 21 Finale, welterweight fight)
While we don’t know who the participants will be yet, this season of "The Ultimate Fighter" has shown us that the American Top Team versus Blackzilians rivalry is far from over. The show is tied going into the final episode and after its conclusion, two fighters will advance to the finale in order to be crowned champion and earn a UFC contract. If fighters like Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and TJ Dillashaw are any indication, we may see a new force at welterweight from this season’s show.
While neither fighter is close to a title shot, this bout has the potential for a devastating knockout from either guy. Mir is coming off a highlight reel knockout of Antonio Silva, while all of Duffee’s 11 pro fights have ended in a knockout (Duffee is 9-2). Another knockout of former champ Mir could send Duffee on his way up the heavyweight division ladder.
Many were unimpressed by the UFC debut of Holm, but “The Preacher’s Daughter” is back against once-beaten Reneau. She destroyed Jessica Andrade in just under two minutes and will look to do the same against former boxing champion Holm. A win could place either as the No. 1 contender, but at the very least, it will make the women’s bantamweight division one step closer to finding another challenger to the Rousey-Correia winner.
Only two people know what it’s like to beat Conor McGregor in an MMA fight, and Duffy is the only one of those in the UFC. The Irish product scored a knockout win in his UFC debut in March, and now returns to the Octagon against dangerous jiu-jitsu fighter Jorge. Duffy could have some help from the crowd if enough of his countrymen travel to Scotland for the fight, and a win could move him up the lightweight ladder and into the rankings.
July 25 -- TJ Dillashaw versus Renan Barao II (UFC on FOX, bantamweight title fight)
It’s the rematch UFC fans have waited for since May of 2014 -- and Dillashaw-Barao II is on tap for free television. Dillashaw pulled off what many feel is the surefire “Upset of the Decade” in MMA when he destroyed Barao over five rounds to win the title. Barao won his last fight in December to earn another opportunity at Dillashaw as he looks to be the first man to win the UFC bantamweight title twice.
The co-main event isn’t officially a No. 1 contender’s fight, but it might as well be for Tate and Eye. Since losing for the second time to Rousey, Tate has rolled off three straight wins and is ranked second in the division. Fifth-ranked Eye destroyed Leslie Smith (and her ear) over two rounds to earn a stoppage win and a high-profile bout with Tate.
The turn of the calendar to August brings with it another appearance by the "Baddest Woman on the Planet," Ronda Rousey. She makes the sixth defense of her UFC women’s bantamweight title against undefeated Correia. The war of words has escalated between these two and now Rousey goes into enemy territory to fight Correia and keep her belt.
Six UFC events, five different venues, four title fights, three countries, two pay-per views and one month of awesome fights scheduled inside the Octagon makes for a smashing first half to the summer.