In his first bout since challenging Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title, former world champion Junior Dos Santos will attempt to stop the rise of Bulgarian powerhouse Blagoy Ivanov in the five-round headliner of the UFC’s first event at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho on July 14.
Also made official for the UFC Fight Night card, which airs on FS1, is a clash of lightweight contenders between Paul Felder and James Vick, and the return of Chad Mendes, who meets Myles Jury in a featherweight bout.
Tickets go on sale May 18.
One of the sport’s most popular fighters outside the Octagon, Brazil’s Dos Santos is also one of the most feared inside it. Owner of wins over Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir, Mark Hunt and Ben Rothwell, "Cigano" fell short of regaining his crown in his UFC 211 rematch with Miocic, but he can get back in line for a rubber match with the champ with a win over UFC newcomer Ivanov, a black belt in judo and International Master of Sports in Sambo who brings a stellar 16-1, 1 NC record into his first Octagon bout.
Winner of four straight, the No. 11-ranked Vick is an impressive 9-1 in the Octagon since his debut in 2013, and he hopes a victory over Felder will put him even higher in the rankings. But the No. 14-ranked Felder, who has won three in a row – all by knockout – has the same ambition heading into this July bout.
Back in the Octagon for the first time since December 2015, Mendes is a two-time title challenger eager to get back in the race for another shot at featherweight gold, a task that will speed up if he can beat the No. 15-ranked Jury, who has won two straight over Mike De La Torre and Rick Glenn.