This weekend is all about shots and shows. And for once we mean different kinds of shots. We’ve got jabs and holds, dunks and three-pointers and shows for all sorts of audiences. If you’ve got time this weekend we strongly suggest you check out all of these. If, however, you lack the ability to be in two places at once, feel free to just pick your favorites. But you should really look into getting that super power. It’s pretty great.
UFC International Fight Week
When: July 7 – 12
Where: MGM Grand, Sands Expo and Convention Center, additional locations
They call it America’s fasted growing sport, but here in Vegas we’ve been supporting UFC for years. We like the sportsmanship, the devotion and how UFC fans just seem to get Vegas. For this Fight Week, we’re so excited to see Conor McGregor taking on Chad Mendes for the interim championship. Yes, we said “interim” championship. Jose Aldo is out right now due to injury. But it’ll still be a hell of a fight. And, since this is Vegas, everything surrounding the main event will be exceptional too. Here’s what you can see over the week:
The UFC Fan Expo will be at the Sands Expo and Convention Center and will have appearances by some of the biggest names in MMA. Guests can experience exhibitions, special events and even training sessions. It’s a week-long extravaganza for all things UFC Starting July 7.
The Ultimate Cookoff at Lagasse’s Stadium in Palazzo is a different kind of fight. Instead of fists of fury we could see flambé and forks. But seeing fighters vie for the keys to the kitchen will be worth the hunger you’ll feel while you watch them cook.
The Second Annual Ulti-Man 5k is a fundraiser for Three Square Food Bank in Downtown Las Vegas. UFC fighters will be participating and everyone is welcome to run, walk or even crawl for this great cause. The race starts at 7 a.m. on July 11.
UFC 189 Double Title Fight is the real deal, the main shebang and everything we’ve been waiting for. Mendes versus McGregor will be the best fight in Vegas since Mayweather versus Pacquiao or Fremont Street performers versus good taste.
The Parties are honestly just as important to us. The official UFC 189 Bud Light After Party is at LAX at the Luxor and will feature fighters, octagon girls and, hopefully you. Viewing parties will be set up all over the city and everywhere you go you’ll be able to find some action during this amazing week. And the Bud Light pool party will take place on July 12 at Monte Carlo.
In addition to those events, they’ll have the UFC Hall of Fame Induction, UFC Gym Fitness Challenge, charity auctions, amateur tournaments and open workouts. You can see a full list of events here, but be sure to pace yourself. There’s a lot of UFC action and you’ll want to stay energized for the free show on Fremont Street (see next entry).
When: Friday, July 10
Where: Fremont Street Experience
What goes better with an Irish fighter in UFC? No, not a barrel of whiskey and an ice pack – although in Vegas we could use both of those things too. We’re talking about some good old-fashioned Irish punk rockers. Dropkick Murphys have teamed up with UFC and Fremont Street Experience’s Rock of Vegas to put on a free show on the 3rd Street Stage. Known for their superior mix of Celtic styles with New England born punk rock, Dropkick Murphys know how to energize any crowd – even one this far removed from Boston. This might not be the best show for kids – unless they’re some of the most hardcore kids around – but for everyone with a head to bang and a fist to pump, this show will rock your socks off – if anyone is crazy enough to wear socks in this heat.
NBA Summer League
When: July 10 – 20
Where: Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Center
We don’t get a lot of pro sports in Las Vegas. They say it has something to do this being a tourist town and no one wanting to play a sport outside when it’s 115 degrees. But during the summer, we do get some three-point shots as the NBA comes to Vegas for the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. All of your favorite teams, plus those teams that people in your family like and you have to endure at every family function, will hit Sin City for more than a week of games starting this Friday.
Summer League is the first chance for many rookies to hit the court in their team colors. And it’s pretty much the only chance for you to see a pro game while in Las Vegas – until the NBA wises up and starts a team here called the Las Vegas Questionable Decisions. Until then, you can check out the full lineup of games here and buy tickets to events at Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Center.
Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson
When: Friday, July 10
Where: The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
We’re not going to try to guess the current lineup of the Smashing Pumpkins. We know Billy Corgan will be there because, as he enjoys pointing out, he is the Smashing Pumpkins. And we’re pretty confident that Marilyn Manson is in fact Marilyn Manson, no matter what the current internet rumor about him is. What we do know is that The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is one of the best show venues in Vegas and bringing two iconic alt-rockers together at this locale is guaranteed to create an experience. Whether you prefer Manson’s glam-goth ways or Corgan’s… Ego-rock? We guess? – We’ve never been entirely sure how to classify the Pumpkins – but you’ll find some definition that’s all your own this weekend at The Joint during this oceanic lineup.
When: Saturday, July 11
Where: Foxtail Pool Club
We’ve got a lot of rock this week, but we’ve also got an artist who brings the quest for a soul to every note he sings. Matisyahu has taken his life of addiction and religion and turned it into a music career that transcends the qualms of them both. Now he’s bringing his eclectic sound to Foxtail Pool Club’s Summer Concert Series. And with his latest release “Hard Way,” he’s created more than just music – he’s build a relatable expression. His story is available through Stellar, and he encourages others to describe their hard ways they’ve overcome. This is one show that is sure to bring people together, and it will be something you’ll remember for a very long time.
When: Saturday, July 11
Where: Caesars Palace
When someone is called “the hottest show in Vegas” by the L.A. Times, people should probably pay attention. But really, all Matt Goss has to do is sing a few notes and stare at us with those chasmal, blue eyes and we’re transfixed. This weekend he’ll be starting off his residency at Caesars Palace in the very appropriately named Gossy Room. Performing a variety of his own hits as well as classic songs, Matt Goss has created a show that has critics, celebrities and, most importantly, fans gushing. We say a lot of things are must dos, but this just might be a must do over and over.
Ping Pong Pool
When: July 10
Where: The LINQ Pool at the LINQ Hotel and Casino
They’re just filling the pool with ping pong balls. That’s 30,000 ping pong balls. That’s just awesome. And they’re also setting up ping pong tables around the pools for guests to play on. You do have to be 21 to enter, because of all the drink specials and general alcohol-related splendor, but it’s not like kids would enjoy a pool filled with ping pong balls anyway, right? OK, they might, but too bad. This one’s just for the adults. It’s open to the public and it’s free. So head down to The LINQ and see just how fun ping pong can be.