The UFC recently announced the initial batch of bouts for the upcoming UFC 239 blockbuster card which takes place July 6 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In last week’s MMA Odds and Ends, I gave my initial thoughts on both title fights on top of the bill containing Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos for the UFC light heavyweight title and Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm for your UFC women’s bantamweight title. Additionally, I gave my thoughts onto an intriguing light heavyweight matchup between Luke Rockhold and Jan Blachowicz. Well, it appears the UFC would like to have a special card for this season’s International Fight Week occasion, since according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, two exciting conflicts have been reserved for UFC 239. One is a welterweight matchup between Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal, and the other is a heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos. Below are my initial ideas on the fights Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal, UFC 239 Welterweight contenders Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal fulfill at UFC 239 with a potential title shot at stake. UFC president Dana White originally told reporters following UFC 235 the advertising proposed a rematch between Askren and Robbie Lawler, but after Lawler was reserved at a rematch against Tyron Woodley in UFC on ESPN 4 it opened up the door for Askren to fight an original face. Many figured that the UFC could take the bait and book Masvidal against Leon Edwards after their backstage scuffle at UFC London, however, the advertising has instead decided to match Askren and Masvidal up at a prospective No. 1 competitor’s bout. Askren (19-0, 1 NC) had an unusual UFC debut against Lawler, but ultimately did end up getting his hand raised. After surviving a difficult slam and an early onslaught of ground punches, Askren managed to put Lawler at a bulldog choke, coaxing a phantom tapout from referee Herb Dean. Fans did not wish to see a rematch, however, and the UFC ultimately listed, giving”Funky” a fresh competitor. The prior Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion is undefeated in his profession and is currently riding a five-fight win streak that includes four victories via stoppage. Together with his ability to talk a big game, Askren has quickly becoming fan favorite amongst UFC fans, and the promotion has taken note. Masvidal (33-13) is 10-6 overall in the UFC and is coming from arguably the biggest win of his career, a brutal KO victory over Darren Till in the primary event of UFC London. Masvidal had become a gatekeeper in 170lbs and hadn’t any fought in over a year following back-to-back decision losses to Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia. However, we all know MMA is a”what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” sport along with the triumph over Till raised Masvidal’s inventory to the highest level it’s his entire career. He had been due for a huge fight, and the UFC believes this matchup against Askren is your best fight possible. I love this matchup, and I am glad the UFC decided to book it as it’s an intriguing battle involving two veterans of the game who are looking to get a title shot. Given Askren’s undefeated record along with his remarkable wrestling pedigree, I believe you have to give him the standing of betting favorite going into this bout. However, with Masvidal having strong takedown defense and a superior striking assault, he’ll be a live dog once again. Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos, UFC 239 At the same time, a heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos is famous for UFC 239, with the winner likely stepping into the part of No. 1 contender to champion Daniel Cormier’s belt. Ngannou (13-3) is 8-2 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over Curtis Blaydes and Cain Velasquez. After two dreadful performances against Derrick Lewis and Stipe Miocic, it seems Ngannou has found his groove again in the heavyweight division. Dos Santos (21-5) is 15-4 at the UFC and is now riding a three-fight win series over Lewis, Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa. The former UFC heavyweight champ is beginning to seem like his old self once more, and at this point might be in contention for a UFC Hall of Fame place. Both guys are on a roll at the moment, but given the fact Ngannou has taken far less harm in his profession and gets got the hype train behind him again, I’d venture to guess he will be a small favorite here. Great fight, and UFC 239 is beginning to shape up as the best card of the year without Conor McGregor available to fight. Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and MMA Odds Breaker will be paid if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. Read more: