The UFC always makes of point of putting together a bi-mid-year PPV card for early July, and it looks like 2019 will be no exception. Currently sporting six former title challengers and champions, UFC 229 appears as though it may have just added one more.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday, April 4th that the UFC has been working on booking a welterweight bout between former lightweight title contender Diego Sanchez and recent top-ranked lightweight Michael Chiesa.
UFC wants to book Michael Chiesa vs. Diego Sanchez for UFC 239 on July 6 in Las Vegas, according to sources. The fight isn’t 100% set or signed yet but that’s the direction they want to go in.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 5, 2019
Chiesa made the jump to 170 lbs back in December of 2018, with a victory over former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. His second round submission win halted a two-fight losing skid, against Kevin Lee and Anthony Pettis (both of whom, coincidentally, have made their own moves to welterweight since those fights).
For Sanchez, the last year has seen something of a revitalization of his career, with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2011. Following KO losses to Joe Lauzon, and Al Iaquinta - sandwiching a hard fought victory over Marcin Held - the ‘Nightmare’ took his talents back to the division where he saw his first run of UFC success. A brutal KO of the Year contender loss to Matt Brown followed, but wins over Craig White and Mickey Gall have had him looking something like the man who made his reputation as one of the UFC’s toughest competitors.
Outside of main and co-main event fights, the bout order for UFC 229 has not been set, so there’s no telling if Sanchez vs. Chiesa will end up on the PPV or the earlier prelims. At the moment, the card is scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos. A women’s bantamweight title fight between Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes is penciled in for the co-main. Bouts against Francis Ngannou & Junior dos Santos, Luke Rockhold & Jan Blachowicz, and Jorge Masvidal & Ben Askren have all been announced, but yet to be made official.