The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced an agreement this morning with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism. The five-year deal assures the promotion will bring one event per year to the UAE featuring at least one title fight.
The first show will be UFC 242 on Sept. 7. Although nothing is official yet, the UFC 242 headliner will almost certainly – barring an injury or unforeseen circumstances – be Khabib Nurmagomedov’s second defense of his lightweight strap against Dustin Poirier. The bout would unify the lightweight championship.
Nurmagomedov won the vacated 155-pound title by defeating Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision at UFC 223 in Brookly at Barclays Center in April of 2018. The Dagestani wrestler remained undefeated and successfully defended his title when he submitted former lightweight champion Conor McGregor with a fourth-round neck crank at UFC 229.
However, after jumping over the cage and attacking members of McGregor’s team in the immediate aftermath, Nurmagomedov was issued a six-month suspension. Therefore, the promotion created an interim lightweight title fight between reigning featherweight kingpin Max Holloway and Poirier, who won the interim belt by capturing a unanimous-decision victory on April 13 in Atlanta at UFC 236.
“The Diamond” ended Holloway’s 13-fight winning streak and improved to 9-1-1 since moving up to lightweight from the 145-pound division. When the news of this agreement was announced earlier today, Poirier tweeted at Nurmagomedov, “location sent.”
This quote is in reference to Nurmagomedov’s reply to McGregor after members of his team attacked a bus in a chaotic scene prior to UFC 223. After that incident, Nurmagomedov consistently barked a message to the press to pass on to McGregor, “just send me location. I’ll be there.”
BetOnline opened Nurmagomedov as a -240 favorite against Poirier back on April 14. Those odds were -275 as of earlier this afternoon, leaving Porier as the +235 underdog.