With Bellator 222 and Fury-Schwarz in the rear-view, fight fans may have missed some of the recent bookings made in MMA. Let’s dive into three of the bigger announcements and where they fit into the crowded summer landscape!
UFC San Antonio – Rafael dos Anjos (29-11) vs. Leon Edwards (17-3)
With UFC San Antonio taking place July 20, it was only fitting that the promotion chose to stack the deck with what’s sure to be a fast paced welterweight main event on their fourth appearance on big ESPN. Rafael dos Anjos, coming off a gruelling fourth round arm triangle win over Kevin Lee in the main event of UFC Rochester is set to meet surging British striker Leon Edwards who will be coming into this fight riding an impressive seven fight win streak.
For #3 ranked dos Anjos, the win over Kevin Lee in May ended a two-fight skid and rebounded the former lightweight champ into title consideration at 170 lbs. The Brazilian has competed for the promotion on 21 occasions, earning FOTN and POTN bonuses on multiple occasions with notable wins over the likes of Nate Diaz, Robbie Lawler and Anthony Pettis in 2015 to secure the title.
#11 ranked Edwards has been rolling since dropping a unanimous decision to current welterweight champ Kamaru Usman in late 2015, capping his streak with wins over Donald Cerrone and Gunnar Nelson. In the meeting with Nelson, Edwards was a slight favourite at home in March and forced the Icelander to a split decision where it was Edwards out-striking 47-27 in total and surprisingly out-grappling Nelson in the majority of their exchanges.
Bellator “Mitrione vs. Kharitonov 2” – Matt Mitrione (13-6, 1 NC) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (28-6, 2 NC)
While a groin shot at the 15-second mark halted their first meeting in February, Bellator announced during Friday’s card that Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov will rematch in August from Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Since joining the promotion, Mitrione was able to boast a four fight win streak including a finish of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC as well as a first round Heavyweight Grand Prix decision over Roy Nelson; of late though the Illinois native dropped an incredibly one-sided affair to now 265 lbs champ Ryan Bader ahead of the meeting with Kharitonov.
Russia’s Kharitonov returned to Bellator in 2018 and immediately entered the title picture with an impressive first round TKO finish over Roy Nelson, with his first meeting with Mitrione serving as a possible title eliminator. In a career that began in 2000, the Sambo champion has faced the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum.
UFC 240 – Tanner Boser (16-5-1) vs. Giácomo Lemos (6-0)
The long-overdue UFC debut of Canadian heavyweight Tanner Boser finally has a date, with “The Bulldozer” earning his shot against fellow UFC-debutant, undefeated Brazilian Giácomo Lemos at UFC 240 in July as first reported by Marcelo Barone.
Boser, the current Unified MMA heavyweight champ, took his talents overseas for the past two years, competing under the ACB and M-1 Global banners while going 3-3-1 in that time. With ten wins by finish (8 KO/TKO, 2 SUB), including a re-acquiring of his Unified MMA belt in May, fans can expect a fast paced style with plenty of forward pressure from the Canadian bruiser.
Undefeated Lemos joins the UFC boasting a six-fight finish streak since turning pro in 2016. Most recently competing with Angel’s Fighting Championship in South Korea, the Brazilian earned back-to-back second round stoppage wins over Sang Soo Lee and Jun Soo Lim this spring at AFC 10 and AFC 11.