Save the dates: Sports events you won’t wanna miss

London Olympics Opening Ceremony

(July 27, 7 p.m., NBC) Sure, the actual competitions are what you’ll remember after the torch goes out next month, but who doesn’t love kicking it all off by watching athletes march around in funny hats? And seeing how much taller the NBA guys are than the gymnasts.

Real Madrid vs. Santos Laguna

(August 5, 8 p.m., Sam Boyd Stadium) This international soccer showcase lost a bit of its luster when Italian club Juventus FC dropped out, but any time Spain’s Real Madrid is on the field, you can expect a crazy-high level of play. Bonus: Mexican champ Santos Laguna features Las Vegas product Herculez Gomez.

Our Lady of Good Counsel at Bishop Gorman football

(August 24, 6 p.m.) Nevada’s three-time defending large-school champs, No. 8 in ESPN’s final 2011 rankings, opens its 2012 season against a Maryland team ranked even higher (No. 5). If you can’t make it out to the campus, you can catch the game on ESPN. Yeah, that ESPN.

Tuff-Enough Wilderness Races

(August 25 amp; 26, Think you’re tough? Choose from one of seven events—trail racing, mountain biking, extreme adventuring and more—and prove it. We’ll wait for you at the finish line.

Las Vegas 51s vs. Tacoma Rainers

(August 30, 7:05 p.m., Cashman Field) The local AAA team’s final home game of the season is your last chance to scout the future stars of the parent Toronto Blue Jays—and to drink your last $1 beer. Oh, did we not mention it’s also Dollar Beer Night?

UFC 151

(September 1, 3:45 p.m., Mandalay Bay Events Center) The 25-year-old Jon Jones looks to successfully defend his light-heavyweight title against the legendary 41-year-old Dan Henderson. Jones is more than a 6-to-1 favorite, but Henderson’s powerful right hand and Olympic wrestling pedigree make it impossible to count him out.

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

(September 5, 5:30 p.m., NBC) Don’t feel like waiting for the NFL’s first full Sunday slate on September 9? Don’t. Romo and Eli get it started a few days early, so be sure you have those betting slips/party dips/fantasy rosters ready.

Canelo Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez

(September 15, 3 p.m., MGM Grand Garden Arena) Mexico’s undefeated boxing phenom, the 22-year-old Alvarez, headlines a pay-per-view card for the first time in his career. The bout was supposed to be against Victor Ortiz, but Lopez ruined those plans with an upset over Ortiz in June.

Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

(September 15, 6 p.m., Thomas & Mack Center) Martinez is considered one of the five best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but Chavez carries an undefeated record and knockout power. Martinez’s WBC middleweight title is on the line. And yes, fight fans have to chose between this and the MGM card on the same night.

Major League Baseball Wild-Card Playoffs

(October 5, time tbd, TBS) Baseball’s postseason starts out differently this year: two teams apiece in the American and National leagues, playing do-or-die single-game series. We’re nervous just thinking about it.

Reno at UNLV football

(October 13, noon, Sam Boyd Stadium) The Rebels open the season at home August 30 against Big Ten rep Minnesota, but if you only see one game in 2012, this clash with the in-state rival Wolf Pack should be it. ’Cause how are you gonna feel if UNLV captures the Fremont Cannon for the first time since 2004 and you’re not even there to see it?


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