Hall Of Fame
It’s never a sure thing, but the strawweight title fight between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha is as close as it gets to a can’t-miss war.
Jedrzejczyk holds the record for most significant strikes landed in a strawweight bout (220 vs. Valerie Letourneau at UFC 193). She also has the mark for second-most with 126 landed against Jessica Penne in her first title defense.
RELATED: Joe Rogan previews Jedrzejczyk vs Gadelha | Joe Silva and Sean Shelby break down Fight Night Las Vegas | Vegas Cheat Sheet & TUF Finale Cheat Sheet | Buy tickets to one of the events going down on International Fight Week
Not for nothing, Gadelha ranks No. 5 all time with her 111 significant strikes landed against Jessica Aguilar at UFC 190.
What does all that mean?
The two best strawweights on the planet are going to brawl for 25 minutes and, with their bitter rivalry peaking in an Octagon filled to the brim with animosity, they’re likely put on a show for the ages.
On the heels of the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha can barely wait another moment to get their hands on each other. The insults were flying as the two coached their respective sides during the 12-episode run on FS1.
In their first fight, Jedrzejczyk escaped with a razor-tight split decision win that earned her a title shot. Between them they only have one loss, and that loss -- Gadelha falling to Jedrzejczyk -- could have been a draw.
Now we get a five-round title fight and there’s no doubt about it that Jedrzejczyk vs. Gadelha is the No. 1 reason to watch The Ultimate Fighter Finale.
Fight Night Las Vegas
Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos faces Eddie Alvarez in the main event of the kickoff event to three fight cards in three days on Thursday, July 7. It’s the first male title fight in UFC FIGHT PASS history.
Dos Anjos has been one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC the past four years. The Brazilian champion has won 10 of his last 11, including four straight wins against either former champions or Top 5-ranked lightweights.
Alvarez is a +325 underdog, but Dos Anjos is likely taking the No. 2-ranked lightweight very seriously. The Philadelphia product has defeated Gilbert Melendez and former champion Anthony Pettis on his way to his title shot. Alvarez has been a champion in four other promotions and is looking to add another title to his collection in Las Vegas.
The only blemish on RDA’s record the past four years is a 2014 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Dos Anjos, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, has evolved his wrestling game over the years but has come up short to a few wrestlers along the way. Alvarez will test the champion in this facet of the game, and a win for the champ will further cement is growing legacy.
In the co-main event of Fight Night Las Vegas -- available exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS but which can be seen in over 1,000 bars throughout the US -- ranked heavyweights collide when No. 10 Roy Nelson takes on No. 12 Derrick Lewis.
“The Black Beast” has been ablaze in 2016, winning both of his outings by first-round knockout to add to an impressive three-fight win streak. Lewis has been angling for a fight with Nelson and now has a chance to prove he’s an elite heavyweight with a win over “Big Country.”
Nelson halted a three-fight losing streak last time out against Jared Rosholt, and at 40 years old he’s looking to start another win streak to make one more run at the top of the division.
Holding the obvious grappling advantage, Nelson will likely look to get this fight to the mat if possible. But Lewis has shown in his last few fights that he is tough to take down and keep down.
The Ultimate Fighter Finale
Obviously the two finals from the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter should be high on your list of reasons to tune in, but we don’t have those matchups yet.
What we do have is a fun Friday night card that is sure to whet the appetite for the massive UFC 200 lineup on Saturday night.
Will Brooks makes his long awaited UFC debut against Ross Pearson on the main card. “Ill Will” brings a 17-1 record with him to the Octagon and gets a fierce test in his debut.
Pearson is a 19-fight UFC veteran who is coming off a win over Canadian prospect Chad Laprise. Brooks was the lightweight champion of his previous promotion and defended that title twice before coming to the UFC.
In a matchup between two monster lightweight prospects, Australian Jake Matthews (11-1) meets American Kevin Lee (12-2) in a battle of grappling standouts.
Lee is a wrestler who has developed into a formidable boxer and has an underrated ground game. But he may not want to mess around on the mat with Matthews, who is a submission ace with five wins by sub to his name.
Matthews is arguably the greatest prospect to come out of Australia and the country is looking to him to become its first ever UFC champion from Down Under.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC