Rafael Dos Anjos to defend UFC lightweight belt vs. Eddie Alvarez
Another title fight has been added to UFC 200 weekend. It just won’t appear on the main card.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced Friday that Huntington Beach-trained Brazilian Rafael Dos Anjos will defend his lightweight belt July 7 against Eddie Alvarez at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The bout is to be televised by the UFC’s subscription television service, Fight Pass.
Dos Anjos (24-7) won the lightweight belt in March 2015, defeating Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision. He successfully defended the belt with a first-round knockout of Donald Cerrone in December.
Alvarez (27-4) is the UFC’s top-ranked lightweight following a January split-decision triumph over Pettis.
Dos Anjos’ foot injury was the beginning of a chain of events that created the main event of UFC 200, which is scheduled to fought July 9 at the new, 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The late February injury scuttled plans for popular featherweight champion Conor McGregor to fight to become the UFC’s first-ever simultaneous double-title winner, so McGregor agreed to fight replacement fighter Nate Diaz of Stockton at the welterweight limit of 170 pounds -- 25 pounds heavier than the featherweight limit and 15 pounds more than the lightweight limit.
Diaz took advantage of the weight difference on March 5, planting heavier punches on McGregor in the second round as the Irishman fatigued with the extra weight and succumbed to a second-round submission by rear naked chokehold.
Instead of returning to featherweight or again seeking a shot at a healthy Dos Anjos, McGregor opted for a 170-pound rematch with Diaz to headline UFC 200.
The only title fight on the UFC 200 card is women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate defending the belt she won by submitting Holly Holm on March 5. Tate is to fight fourth-ranked contender Amanda Nunes of Brazil.
With McGregor occupied, the UFC designated a featherweight fight between top-two contenders Frankie Edgar of New Jersey and former champion Jose Aldo of Brazil to be a bout for the interim featherweight belt, meaning McGregor has to fight the winner next or the winner elevates to champion.
Former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is also set to fight at UFC 200, against Travis Browne, who’s dating Ronda Rousey.
Also at the MGM Grand on July 8, the UFC is set to stage the finale of its reality television series “The Ultimate Fighter,” with a main event featuring a title fight between the show’s coaches, strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top-ranked contender Claudia Gadelha.
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