Event to be held February 26, 2012 at Saitama Super Arena
First Brazil, now Japan.
The UFC announced Tuesday morning that they will be officially returning to Japan early next year. The February event will mark the first time since UFC 29 that the organization has crossed the Pacific for an event, and will be the first UFC show in Japan under Zuffa LLC ownership.
UFC Asia Executive Vice President and Managing Director Mark Fischer made the announcement this morning at a press conference in Tokyo. UFC President Dana White shared his enthusiasm through a taped video message.
While there were no fights announced for the event, the UFC roster is full of possibilities. Japanese stars like Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Takanori Gomi and Yoshihiro Akiyama will all be considered, with Pride standouts Wanderlei Silva, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Mirko Cro Cop being potential options as well. Former Pride heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira also expressed his interest in being a part of the event following his UFC 134 victory over Brendan Schaub.
No announcement was made regarding the branding of the event—whether it would be a numbered event or a Fight Night—however it was explained that the start time for the event will be geared to coincide with the traditional North American schedule for UFC events. Much like the two UFC events held in Australia over the last two years—UFC 110 and UFC 127—this event will be held Sunday morning in Japan, beginning at 10 a.m. local time.
The Saitama Super Arena—the former home of the Pride Fighting Championships—will be configured to hold approximately 20,000 for the event. The famed venue is currently the primary home of DREAM and played host to numerous Pride events during the organization’s run as the UFC’s chief competitor and rival.
Keep checking Heavy MMA for further updates on this event.