Weekend Warrior: The Return Of Junior dos Santos and Bellator 202

Photo: Jason Merritt [Getty Images]

With two-division champion Daniel Cormier still basking in the afterglow of his historic UFC 226 victory, the Ultimate Fighting Championship schedule rolls on during the weekend of July 13-15 and beyond.

Former heavyweight titleholder Junior dos Santos will return from a more than a yearlong layoff to lock horns with Blagoy Ivanov in the UFC Fight Night 134 main event this Saturday at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. UFC Fight Night “Dos Santos vs. Ivanov” airs live on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, with UFC Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT) carrying a portion of the undercard.

Get To Know Junior: 5 Things You Need To Know About Junior dos Santos

Dos Santos, 34, has not fought since he was on the receiving end of a second-round technical knockout from Stipe Miocic in a failed bid to reclaim the heavyweight crown at UFC 211 in May 2017. Ivanov, a former World Series of Fighting champion, makes his organizational debut on the strength of a five-fight winning streak. The 31-year-old Bulgarian was stabbed during a bar fight in 2012 and survived life-threatening injuries to make a miraculous return to mixed martial arts.

Other UFC Fight Night 134 bouts to keep an eye on: Myles Jury vs. Chad Mendes, Darren Elkins vs. Alexander Volkanovski and Jennifer Maia vs. Liz Carmouche.

Meanwhile, Bellator MMA will stage a pair of events: Bellator 202 on Friday in Thackerville, Oklahoma, and Bellator 203 on Saturday in Rome.

Bellator 202, which features a women’s featherweight title clash pitting champion Julia Budd against Talita Nogueira, airs live on Paramount at 9 p.m. ET. Paramount.com will stream the undercard at 7 p.m. ET. Bellator 203 puts featherweight champion Patricio Freire in the spotlight, as he locks horns with No. 1 contender Daniel Weichel in a long-awaited rematch. It airs via tape delay on Paramount at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

Looking ahead, Season 2 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series takes the stage with its fifth card on July 17. The five-fight event streams to UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features a women’s strawweight battle between the undefeated Maycee Barber and former King of the Cage champion Jamie Colleen. All 10 competitors on the card will be vying for a UFC contract.

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