Las Vegas – UFC continues its run of events at UFC APEX with a pivotal bout in the stacked lightweight division as No. 9 ranked contender Islam Makhachev intends to prove that he is worthy of title contention when he takes on fellow rising star No. 14 Thiago Moises. In the co-main event, women’s bantamweight veteran and No. 12 ranked Marion Reneau looks to spoil the return of former UFC champion Miesha Tate.
UFC on ESPN 26: Makhachev vs. Moisés will take place Saturday, July 17 from UFC APEX in Las Vegas. All bouts will be available on ESPN, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes beginning with the prelims at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT and followed by the main card at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.
Khabib Nurmagomedov protégé Makhachev (19-1, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) aims to leave no doubt that he is destined to challenge for the UFC lightweight championship in the near future. Among the most dominant forces in MMA today, Makhachev holds the record for the least strikes absorbed per minute in UFC history, a distinction he earned with intimidating performances over Drew Dober, Davi Ramos and Gleison Tibau. He now intends to extend his impressive win streak and become the first fighter to finish Moises.
Moises (15-4, fighting out of Indaiatuba, Brazil) has his sights set on keeping his current momentum going and securing the biggest win of his young career. A signee from Dana White’s Contender Series, the 26-year-old Moises recently found his footing in the talent-rich lightweight division when he rattled off three straight exciting victories against Michael Johnson, Bobby Green and Alexander Hernandez. Moises now plans to shock the world by upsetting Makhachev and beginning his own run towards UFC gold.
Reneau (9-7-1, fighting out of Visalia, Calif.) looks to deliver another stellar performance and show why she is one of the elite in women’s MMA. Reneau showed off her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt skills in her debut with a Performance of the Night submission win over former UFC champion Jessica Andrade and then followed up this performance with equally notable finishes over Milana Dudieva, Talita Bernardo and Sara McMann. She now seeks to make another statement against Tate.
Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Tate (18-7, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) steps back into the Octagon for the first time in almost five years, looking to remind everyone of the skills that earned her UFC gold. Among the most popular athletes in MMA, Tate secured her first shot at the belt with victories over former title challengers Liz Carmouche, Sara McMann and Jessica Eye before defeating Holly Holm for the title. She now intends to get right back in the mix by becoming the first person to finish Reneau.
Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) fighting out of San Diego, Calif. locks horns with Mateusz Gamrot (18-1, 1 NC) fighting out of Lubon, Poland in a lightweight bout guaranteed to deliver action. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu phenom Rodolfo Vieira (7-1) fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil takes on fellow grappling specialist Dustin Stoltzfus (13-2) fighting out of Germersheim, Germany at middleweight.
An exciting featherweight bout sees Gabriel Benitez (22-9) fig8hting out of Tijuana, Mexico face off with The Ultimate Fighter and Dana White’s Contender Series alum Billy Quarantillo (15-3) fighting out of Tampa, Fla. Welterweights Daniel Rodriguez (14-2) fighting out of San Gabriel, Calif. looks to spoil the UFC debut of newcomer Preston Parsons (9-2) fighting out of Jacksonville Beach, Fla. who replaces Abubakar Nurmagomedov on short notice.
No. 14 ranked women’s strawweight Amanda Lemos (9-1-1) fighting out of Para, Brazil aims to defend her spot in the rankings against Montserrat Conejo (10-1) fighting out of Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. Khalid Taha (13-3, 1 NC) fighting out of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany intends to stop Sergey Morozov (16-4) fighting out of Aktau, Kazakhstan from earning his first UFC victory in a bantamweight bout.
Dana White’s Contender Series signee Miles Johns (11-1) fighting out of Dallas, Texas looks to make it two finishes in a row when he takes on Anderson dos Santos (21-8) fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil at bantamweight. Francisco Figueiredo (12-3-1, 1 NC) fighting out of Condor, Para, Brazil has his sights set on continuing to build his own legacy at flyweight when he battles Malcolm Gordon (12-5) fighting out of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Alan Baudot (8-2) fighting out of Paris, France seeks to secure his first emphatic UFC finish against Dana White’s Contender Series veteran Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1) fighting out of Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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