The last few weeks of UFC Unfiltered were dominated by Conor McGregor so we’re actually thankful it was a relatively quiet week in the world of mixed martial arts. All we have is another dominant Russian Sambo champion, the return of one of the most popular UFC fighters of all time, another former UFC champion returning after a two-year suspension and a bare-knuckle brawl between former UFC fighters.
Wow, that’s all?
Let’s go…with this week’s edition of UFC Unfiltered.
Makhachev continues to roll
Islam Makhachev continued his onslaught of the lightweight division after picking up his eighth straight victory when he submitted Thiago Moises via rear-naked choke in the fourth round of their main event fight this past weekend.
Makhachev (20-1) has officially put his name in the hat for a title shot in 2022, that is, if he can find a fight with someone in the top 10 in the lightweight division, Beneil Dariush perhaps?
Dariush (24-4-1) is coming off a victory over the once unbeatable Tony Ferguson in May and is currently ranked third in the division. This could be an enticing title-shot eliminator later this year. With his coach and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov firmly entrenched in his corner, the sky seems to be the limit for Makhachev.
We’ve missed Cupcake
Admit it. You missed her.
Miesha Tate made her return to the UFC Octagon in the co-main event of Saturday’s card and while it was held in the UFC Apex, where no fans were allowed to take in the action, you could feel the energy and excitement throughout the broadcast.
Tate, 34, returned after nearly five years away from active competition and thoroughly dominated the previously twelve-ranked Marion Reneau, finally finishing the Belizean Bruiser via TKO in the third round. It was a bittersweet end for Reneau (9-8-1), who said this was her last professional fight at age 44.
Tate (19-7) jumped to eighth in the women’s bantamweight division, although it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise given the real lack of depth in the division.
The women’s divisions have changed dramatically since she was last active. Gone are names like Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano, but there are a few familiar faces for the former Women’s Bantamweight Champion, including Holly Holm, whom she took the title from and Amanda Nunes, who she lost the title to.
It may not have been an Earth shattering return, but we’re excited to see what’s in store for Cupcake.
UFC Unfiltered Previews: T.J. Dillashaw returns vs Corey Sandhagen
T.J. Dillashaw returns from a two-year suspension for failed drug tests with USADA and the New York State Athletic Commission after his flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo in January 2019. Dillashaw (16-4) relinquished the UFC Bantamweight Championship as well and served his punishment.
Now the 35-year old former champion will make his return against a confidant and dangerous Corey Sandhagen (14-2) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Sandhagen, 29, is riding a two-fight win streak that has seen him finish Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar, which is no easy feat with all due respect.
No matter what, I’m betting on this one to be a firefight with both fighters extremely motivated for a finish. We’ll give you the lowdown after the fight here at UFC Unfiltered.
Vitor Belfort vs Oscar De La Hoya has a date and time
The boxing match that no one asked for but will receive anyway has a city and a day. Yes, this is UFC Unfiltered but sometimes, as you know, boxing and other shenanigans make their way into news about the octagon.
Triller’s main honcho Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN this week that a bout between Oscar De La Hoya (39-6) and Vitor Belfort (26-14; 1 NC) will occur at Staples Center in Los Angeles on September 11. Also, the match has moved from exhibition status to a full-fledged, eight-round light heavyweight (175lbs) fight.
No other fights have so far been announced by the promotion.
Oscar De La Hoya, 48, last fought in 2008 when Manny Pacquiao defeated him in Las Vegas. The former multi-time world champion and Olympic Gold Medalist has been busy in retirement as the head of Golden Boy Promotions and had hinted at a return to the ring for the last few years.
Vitor Belfort, 44, last stepped foot in an MMA cage in a losing effort in 2018 against Lyoto Machida. He does have one professional boxing match to his credit, a round-one knockout win in April 2006 in Brazil. We here at UFC Unfiltered don’t have anything else to say. What else could you say about this one?
Finally…VanZant vs Ostovich 2
Former UFC fighters Paige VanZant and Rachel Ostovich will face off in the main event of BKFC 19 this Friday night. This is a fight those of us here at UFC Unfiltered understand why and how it’s happening.
VanZant (0-1) lost in her bare-knuckle debut, losing a unanimous decision to Britain Hart, and is eager to get her first win in the promotion when she welcomes Ostovich (0-0) the sport.
VanZant and Ostovich faced each other in the UFC in 2019, which VanZant won via second round armbar.
Some fans have been incredibly vocal about their placement on top of the BKFC 19 fight card, but let me break it down for those readers of UFC Unfiltered who can’t seem to understand: 3.6 million.
That’s how many fans these two have between them on Instagram alone. BKFC desperately needs those eyeballs as it continues to build its brand and its fanbase. While there are more legitimate fights on the card (Hart vs. Savage is gonna be good), this is the one that people will be talking about for better or for worse.
BKFC continues to do an excellent job of mixing real intriguing fights with headline-grabbing signings (VanZant, Ostovich, former boxing champion Shannon Briggs). They even had a $20 million carrot to dangle to Mike Tyson before he ultimately turned them down.
The promotion will be welcoming fans back as it continues its march at becoming one of the fastest-growing promotions in the United States.
The main event will have eyeballs. Let’s hope the action backs it all up.