July is looking like a great month for combat sports this year with tons of exciting fights and a couple of big drama rematches!
July 2nd: Jason Cunningham vs Zolani Tete (BOXING)
July 9th: Derek Chisora vs Kubrat Pulev 2 (BOXING)
July 16th: Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna (BOXING)
July 2nd: Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier (MMA)
July 16th: Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez (MMA)
July 30th: Julianna Pena vs Amanda Nunez (MMA)
July 2nd: Jason Cunningham vs Zolani Tete
Image Credit: Ringnews24
This is a great fight between two skilled southpaw fighters at bantamweight and in my mind feels a bit like an unofficial title eliminator for the winner to perhaps head down to bantam and box against Inoue.
Jason Cunningham: Cunningham had a little bit of a rocky start to his boxing career but has been looking very sharp since his switch to super bantam with victories over several respectable prospect level opponents. Tete in my mind is his first real world level opponent, but I think he’s ready for the step up. A prodigious mid-range fighter with a knack for throwing good body combinations and creating favorable exchanges with his somewhat awkward style, I think Cunningham will want to fight a cagey middle distance fight, which could prove difficult due to his height and reach deficit. If he can pull it off, however, he might be able to make Tete miss with some of his more wild shots and clip him with nice counters to win a decision.
Zolani Tete: Tete is in some ways Cunningham’s opposite. After his meteoric rise onto the scene with his destruction of Paul Butler, Tete suffered a setback when facing Casimero for the bantamweight world title and losing by knockout. His style is also wildly different though they are both lefties. Where Cunningham is textbook British boxing, Tete relies on his range and chin cracking power to control the pace of fights.
Prediction: Tete by TKO. My prediction for this stems from Cunningham’s style. I think he keeps his head a little still when he’s fighting in the middle distance, and due to the range deficit, I think that might get him caught with some nasty shots from Tete. That being said, I Almost ruled this too close to call. It's a really good fight y'all.
Where to watch: Live July 2nd on BT Sport at 2pm PT
July 9th: Derek Chisora vs Kubrat Pulev 2
Image Credit: DAZN
This is a great matchup and an interesting rematch after their fight in 2016. Let's take a look at the clashing styles for “Total Carnage”
Derek Chisora: Chisora is a warrior and a brawler through and through, willing to wade through fire to get into his preferred range and more than happy to turn every fight into a grimy, rough phone booth fight. Considering his incredible chin and the power he carries in both hands, it's not hard to see why his game plan has remained relatively unchanged.
Kubrat Pulev: Utilizing the sharp jab and excellent fundamentals that characterize the eastern European school of boxing, Pulev is an excellent boxer puncher and a perfect matchup for Chisora. Pulev will want to keep the fight much cleaner than Chisora wants, utilizing his superior technique and high guard along with stinging jabs and his counter hook to the body to keep Chisora at bay.
Prediction: Pulev by late stoppage. I always favor technical boxers over brawlers, and this is no different. I think Chisora always has a chance but Pulev wins 7/10 times in this fight.
Where to watch: Live July 9th on DAZN at TBA
July 16th: Ryan Garcia vs Javier Fortuna
Image Credit: DAZN
This fight was actually delayed after Ryan Garcia pulled out due to mental health issues, but now we get to see this clash for real and we have far more information.
Ryan Garcia: Ryan has enjoyed a very swift rise to boxing popularity due to his flashy style, and I have to say I do love his left hook. He’s certainly got the goods to be a top-level fighter at lightweight, though it remains to be seen if he’s willing to put in the rounds with solid contenders (This is the first decent opponent he’s faced since Callum Smith). I think his game plan will remain largely the same as it usually is, work his blistering hand speed to control the guard until he can throw a counter left hook and end the night.
Javier Fortuna: Fortuna is something of a hidden elite at lightweight, people repeatedly underestimate him and he repeatedly causes problems. A short, violent southpaw boxer-puncher with the experience to take Garcia to deep water, I think Fortuna is going to give Garcia more than he expects. He’s got sharp (if slow) hands and solid defense. The question is, can Fortuna catch the incredibly speedy Garcia before Garcia catches him?
Prediction: Garcia by TKO: I think the left hook catches Fortuna off a baited shoulder roll, it's what I’d do if I had Garcia’s skillset.
Where to watch: Live July 16th On DAZN at 8pm PT
July 2nd: Israel Adesanya vs Jared Cannonier
This is a very exciting way to start off the month for MMA, with Adesanya (who many consider the number 2 of current p4p rankings) set to face off against destructive and intelligent puncher Jared Cannonier.
Israel Adesanya: Adesanya is currently considered one of the best in the business, and for good reason. Combining lightning reflexes, high fight IQ, and slick defenses with highly dangerous striking have made him one of the most effective middleweights in the history of the sport. Look for him to try and keep Cannonier at the end of his reach all night long.
Jared Cannonier: Cannonier is, as his name implies, an absolute cannon. This man hits hard. But there’s more to him than that, which is part of what makes this contest so interesting. He’s clever, has great footwork, and perhaps most importantly is icy calm in the cage. That last bit will be key against Adesanya’s frustrating style and will serve Cannonier well as he tries to get into his range to unleash his cannon of a right hand.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya by decision. I think this will be a very good fight, but Adesanya’s defense is just a little too much for Cannonier to crack.
Where to watch: Live July 2nd on ESPN+ at 9pm ET
July 16th: Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez
This is a fun fight, no ifs about it. Both Ortega and Rodriguez like to stand and trade, and they’re both full of heart in the cage.
Brian Ortega: Ortega is a very well rounded fighter with heavy up close striking (favoring uppercuts on the inside) mixed with a surprisingly dextrous grappling technique when he sees the chance for a submission. He’s going into this fight with the same plan he always has. Attack the opponent up close and force favorable trades, and go for a choke when possible.
Yair Rodriguez: You can’t talk about Rodriguez without talking about his kicks, from jumping roundhouses to vicious body kicks, Yair lives by his legs. A striker through and through, he mixes up levels with his kicks and punches perhaps better than just about anyone. Look for him to try and strike from range to neutralize Ortega’s closer gameplan.
Prediction: Brian Ortega by Submission. I think Ortega has a more rounded tool kit and will dominate once he’s on the ground.
Where to watch: Live July 16th on ESPN+ at 9pm ET
July 30th: Julianna Pena vs Amanda Nunez 2
Capping off the month with yet another big drama rematch, Amanda Nunez looks to avenge her shock loss to Julianna Pena.
Julianna Pena: A very skilled fighter and current women's bantamweight champion, Pena proved the world wrong with a shocking 2nd round submission of Amanda Nunes. Comfortable on her feet, I think she and the rest of the world know that she isn’t going to beat Nunes there. Luckily, she is an excellent wrestler and submission artist, something that Nunes is certainly not. I think Pena needs to exhaust Nunes with a grimy inside clinch fight and then submit her in the mid to late rounds.
Amanda Nunes: One of the heaviest punchers in the women’s division, Nunes is looking to avenge her shock loss here. She historically has trouble with her gas tank, but usually, it isn’t a problem as she’s known for early TKO’s. She needs to take the fight to Pena from the opening bell and exploit her size and striking advantage on the feet to try and get ahead early and finish Pena before she can get her to the ground.
Prediction: Nunes by TKO. Upsets are called upsets for a reason. I expect a return to form from Nunes.
Where to watch: Live July 30th on ESPN+ at 9pm ET
Note: All July 2022 fight information is accurate as of June 24, 2022.
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