The UFC is capping off International Fight Week with one of the biggest events of the year. On Wednesday, UFC president Dana White announced that the promotion has finalized the official pay-per-view line-up for UFC 290, the upcoming event scheduled for July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 290 headlined by featherweight title unification
As anticipated, reigning UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski returns to unify titles with interim UFC featherweight champion Yair Rodríguez in the headliner.
“Volkanovski is the No. 2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world and is undefeated as a featherweight in the UFC,” said White. “He is facing interim champion and Meixcan superstar, Yair Rodríguez. Yair is coming off an incredible win back in February when he won the interim title with a submission win over Josh Emmett.”
In his most recent appearance, Volkanovski suffered his first UFC loss to reigning UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 this past February. The ‘Great’ lost to Makhachev via unanimous decision in a potential ‘Fight of the Year’ contender. Though he originally hoped for a rematch with the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) product, Volkanovski has shifted his focus to Rodríguez, a fighter he deemed ‘one of the most dangerous’ he has ever fought.
Since suffering a loss to Max Holloway in his return from a two-year layoff, Rodríguez has rattled off two consecutive wins. ‘El Pantera’ defeated Brian Ortega and Josh Emmett at UFC Long Island and UFC 284, respectively.
Flyweight champion takes on No. 2 contender in co-headliner
UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno also returns to defend his title against Alexandre Pantoja in the co-headliner. After unifying titles and completing a tetralogy with Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 283 this past January, the ‘Assassin Baby’ was paired against a familiar foe in Pantoja, who he fought during their season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2016. Moreno lost to Pantoja via second-round rear-naked choke. The pair fought again in 2018 at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Usman, where Pantoja improved to 2-0 against Moreno.
Now the ‘Cannibal’ has an opportunity to go 3-0 after earning his title shot with three consecutive wins against Manel Kape, Brandon Royval and Alex Perez.
Other featured fights at UFC 290
Also featured on UFC 290 is a No. 1 middleweight contender between Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis. UFC president Dana White previously announced that the winner of this fight would go on to challenge reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in his next defense near the end of the year.
Rounding out the PPV line-up is a pair of featured fights in Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker and Bo Nickal vs. Tresean Gore. Turner and Hooker were scheduled to fight at UFC 285 this past March, but the latter suffered a hand injury and withdrew. The ‘Tarantula’ accepted a short-notice fight against Mateusz Gamrot, who he fell short to via split decision.
As for Nickal, this is the second Octagon appearance for the three-time NCAA Division I National Champion. The American Top Team (ATT) product ran through Jamie Pickett for a ‘Performance of the Night’ awarded first-round arm-triangle choke. Like his most recent appearance, Nickal serves as the PPV opener.
The full PPV line-up for UFC 290
The official PPV line-up for UFC 290 is as follows:
- Featherweight: Alexander Volkanovski (C) vs. Yair Rodríguez (IC)
- Flyweight: Brandon Moreno (C) vs. Alexandre Pantoja
- Middleweight: Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis
- Lightweight: Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker
- Middleweight: Bo Nickal vs. Tresean Gore
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more updates to UFC 290 as they become available in the coming months.
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