MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) debut tournament in Russia will be held at Moscow’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Saturday.
Over its 20-year history, the organization has never held fights in Russia. Some 12 battles will take place during the tournament, and 11 of them will feature Russian fighters. Nearly 12,000 people are expected to attend the event, making it one of the most visited shows in Russia.
UFC Senior Vice President David Shaw told TASS in June that Russia was obviously an important part of the organization’s international extension strategy. He also said that the UFC planned to hold more events in Russia after September.
During the tournament, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will be in charge of the athletes’ doping control, said Andrei Gromkovsky, the UFC’s Vice President for developing markets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Most fighters have undergone tests before the Moscow event.
The fights will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the key battle will involve Russian Aleksei Oleinik and New Zealand’s Mark Hunt. The tournament in Russia will be titled Fight Night, and won’t have a champion status. The organizers say they still need to study the Russian market.
Some fighters withdrew from the event due to injuries, including Russian Omari Akhmedov and Artem Frolov, as well as Brazil’s Claudio Silva and Silva de Andrade.
Renowned Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is scheduled to have a battle with Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor on October 6 in Las Vegas, won’t take part in the tournament.