Every July for the past six years, the UFC has taken over the combat sports hub of Las Vegas, Nevada with its International Fight Week. This exciting week, which is generally highlighted by several action-packed fight cards, has become the busiest stretch on the UFC’s annual calendar. This year will be no exception.
Already, we have learned that the UFC is working on booking Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena for three consecutive early July nights – the 6th, the 7th, and the 8th.
The first of these early July cards is expected to air on Fox Sports 1. The second, which is also expected to air on Fox Sports 1, will be the Finale of The Ultimate Fighter Season 25. The third card, which is scheduled for the 8th, will be UFC 213 – far and away the biggest of the bunch, and the climax of this year’s International Fight Week festivities.
At the moment, nothing has been confirmed for this blockbuster UFC 213 card. That said, the rumors are swirling, the initial reports are emerging, and various stars are attempting to sneak their way onto the card’s lineup.
Without further ado, here’s a rundown of the rumors, reports, and actual confirmed bouts for UFC 213.
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre
This fight, which will mark Bisping’s second attempted defense of the UFC middleweight title, has already been announced by the UFC. The date and location of this fight, however, are not yet nailed down.
While St-Pierre has suggested he’s interested in making his grand return sometime in the fall, Bisping has repeatedly stated that he plans to fight on July 8 – and that he’s willing to give St-Pierre’s title shot to Yoel Romero to make that happen. So, while Romero has suggested he doubts the sincerity of Bisping’s comments, this fight would also seem to be a possibility for UFC 212.
Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has also called for a fight with Bisping at UFC 213. This fight, then, is another possibility for the the July 8 card.
Jon Jones vs. The Daniel Cormier – Anthony Johnson winner
The suspension Jon Jones received for failing a drug test in the buildup to last year’s UFC 200 is now winding down. In fact, the former champ will be good to go this July.
This, of course, makes him a pretty logical choice for the UFC 213 bill – at least, that’s what UFC President Dana White seems to think. White suggested as much on a recent episode of the UFC Unfiltered Podcast, also insinuating that when Jones does return, it’ll be to an immediate title shot. That would mean he fights the winner of UFC 210’s Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson fight.
“Jon Jones is supposed to return around July so the timing is perfect,” White said (h/t Champions.co). “I haven’t talked to him. I have not talked to Jon Jones since the whole incident [at UFC 200]. Depending on where Jon’s head is and where he thinks he is, I would assume he would come right back and try to get his title back.”
Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Valentina Shevchenko have had a difficult time agreeing on a date for their championship rematch. That said, Nunes recently suggested in an interview with MMAJunkie that she and her challenger are close to locking down a date, and that the fight could occur in July.
“When she declined the fight in April, she was [telling] the UFC she’d be out for some time, and she won’t be back until July,” Shevchenko said. “Of course, I was planning my schedule to be busy before July.”
“But then she changed her mind, and now we are speaking about the date.”
Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw
With the Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale occurring on the 7th, it’s a near certainty that coaches Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw fight for the bantamweight title sometime during International Fight Week. Yet while this fight could well be added to the UFC 213 bill, it’s probably more likely that it occurs at the TUF 24 Finale. At a glance, it looks like it could be too big of a fight for a TUF Finale, but let’s not forget that all three of last year’s International Fight Week card’s included title fights. So the precedent is there.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem 3
Originally, Fabricio Werdum was expected to fight Ben Rothwell this May. Unfortunately, this fight was scrapped when Rothwell was notified of a potential USADA violation.
With this development, Werdum is now apparently being targeted for a rubber match with Alistair Overeem, who he has fought twice before. This report comes from FloCombat.com and Twitter user Dizz.
Fabricio Werdum vs Alistair Overeem July 8 #UFC213
— #Dizz © (@TalkMMA) March 29, 2017
While this fight is in the works, it has not yet been confirmed by the promotion.
As stated above, there is currently nothing officially confirmed for July’s blockbuster UFC 213. As the card draws ever closer, however, expect that to change. Stay tuned to BJPenn.com for updates on this massive pay-per-view as they emerge.
What fights do you want to see happen at UFC 213? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/29/2017.