Although the fallout from UFC 264 is still dominating the mixed martial arts news cycle days after the final scorecards were read, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s focus has already shifted to UFC Vegas 31 on July 17. The 11-fight card features a main event of under-30 and ranked talents at lightweight. As the division’s most ballyhooed rising star, and Khabib Nurmagomedov pupil, Islam Makhachev will face off with Brazilian Thiago Moises.
The card also offers the return of a women’s MMA pioneer. As former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate ends a five-year retirement from the Octagon and takes on 135-pound veteran Marion Reneau in the night’s co-main event.
UFC Vegas 31 takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the UFC Apex.
Where to watch UFC Vegas 31 on July 17
- The event starts with preliminary action at 4 pm ET on ESPN and ESPN+
- Main card action begins at 7 pm ET exclusively on ESPN
UFC Vegas 31 fight card
UFC Vegas 31: Appointment television bouts
Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises
Islam Makhachev (19-1) is the new “it” fighter in the UFC’s lightweight division. Over a six-year run in the promotion, he has won all but one of his nine fights, and often in a dominant fashion. Many feel he has the skills to be the Dagestani heir apparent to retired former division king Nurmagomedov. He is already ranked in the top 10, and in his first main event spot, so this is the moment where he should begin his siege of the top contender spot in the division.
Looking to play spoiler is Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Thiago Moises (15-4). The Legacy Fight Alliance veteran has also had a notable rise up the ladder in earning his own spot in the top 15. He’s earned victories in four of his six Octagon appearances and offers a strong grappling game of his own, to combat Makachev’s dominant Russian wrestling. This fight has two major questions going into it. Is this the beginning of Makachev’s build towards title contention in 2022, or does Moises prove not enough hype has gone his way, and he is the young star everyone should be watching at 155 pounds?
Miesha Tate vs. Marion Reneau
Meisha Tate (18-7) stunned the MMA world when she chose to walk away from the sport in 2016 at just 29-years-old. Following back-to-back defeats to Holly Holm (in a title fight) and Raquel Pennington. She was a former women’s bantamweight champion, and one of the biggest names in the division. Instead, she left the industry in her prime and started a family. But now she’s back at 34 and looking to recapture her status as a perennial contender at 135 pounds.
Welcoming her back to the Octagon is 44-year-old Marian Reneau (9-7-1). The 12-fight veteran is on the opposite side of the spectrum. While Tate is returning to the sport, “The Belizean Bruiser” has announced this will be her swan song from MMA. Not only will she hope to spoil “Cupcakes” return to action on July 17, but she will also look to go out with a win after losing her last four inside the Octagon.