The preliminary bouts of a fight card often set the tone for the night and can either help make the event one of the best in recent memory or can make it a more forgettable night.
Great prelim bouts significantly bolster the card and there are plenty of those in the month of July. July has a total of five UFC events and they are all within the span of two weeks. The first event of July is UFC 189: Aldo vs. McGregor on July 11, 2015. The very next night is The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians Finale. On July 15, 2015 there is UFC Fight Night: Mir vs. Duffee and on July 18, 2015, there is UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites. To close out the big month of July for the UFC it is UFC on FOX: Dillashaw vs. Barão 2 on July 25, 2015.
With the entire schedule for the month of July being stated above, let’s take a look at what our five best prelims from those events are.
- Josh Samman vs. Caio Magalhāes (The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale)
Josh Samman is coming off of arguably the best knockout of 2014 with his head kick knockout of Eddie Gordon at UFC 181. Samman looked like he had a lot of potential on the seventeenth season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, but had a long layoff due to personal reasons. Caio Magalhāes is another guy who seems to have a lot of potential in the middleweight division as he is on a four fight winning streak and finished three of those opponents. Both guys are up-and-comers in the division who finish the majority of their fights which should make for an exciting prelim bout and comes in at #5 on our ‘Top 5 Prelims for July’.
- Neil Seery vs. Louis Smolka (UFC 189)
Flyweights do not get much attention so it is not rare that a good flyweight fight is on the prelims. This flyweight match-up between Neil Seery and Louis Smolka is not a pivotal match-up between two ranked flyweights, but it should be an entertaining fight and is all the way down on the UFC Fight Pass prelims which just shows the strength of the UFC 189 card as a whole. Seery has won back-to-back fights after losing his UFC debut against Brad Pickett in which was a much closer fight than people were expecting. Smolka is also 2-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a fight where he channeled his inner Shawn Michaels with a side kick to the face knockout that won him a performance of the night bonus. This fight is getting next to no attention, but should be a fun flyweight bout that would likely have the winner cracking the top 15 in the division.
- Jim Miller vs. Danny Castillo (UFC on FOX 16)
Danny Castillo was originally supposed to take on Rustam Khabilov at UFC on FOX 16, but visa issues prevented that. This disappointed many fans as it would have been a very exciting prelim, but once the replacement was announced fans rejoiced. Jim Miller took the fight on short notice and pretty much guaranteed it to be an exciting fight as Miller has a total of six ‘of the night’ bonuses and is never in a boring fight. Both guys are coming off of back-to-back losses and the desperation to avoid losing three straight will surely make them leave nothing outside of the octagon.
- Eddie Wineland vs. Bryan Caraway (UFC on FOX 16)
This is probably the most intriguing match-up of all the prelims in 2015. There are a lot of unknowns as to what is going to happen in this fight. Eddie Wineland is known for his devastating power that arguably no other bantamweight has. Bryan Caraway is known for some of the best grappling in the bantamweight division. As annoying and worn out as it may seem, this is the old ‘striker vs. grappler’ match-up. Surely they both are more advanced than that and can hold their own anywhere it goes, but there is no denying what each of their game plans will be. Wineland will swing for the fences and try to stop the grappling exchanges of Caraway, whereas Caraway will likely take a more grinding approach and avoid the power of Wineland. The winner of this match-up will be whoever executes their game plan more effectively.
- Matt Brown vs. Tim Means (UFC 189)
Not much has to be said about this prelim. It will be highly entertaining as almost every Matt Brown fight is. Tim Means has also shown some of the best and most exciting striking in the welterweight division as of late. This is one of the fights that is clearly deserving of being on the pay-per-view and is better than some of the fights on the main card, but is headlining the prelims to set the tone for the night because the UFC knows there is almost no chance of it being bad. Matt Brown will Matt Brown and Tim Means will Time Means and that is all we need. If there is any prelim that is an absolute must watch for the month of July it is this one and that is why it tops our list of ‘Top 5 Prelims for July 2015’.