What Time Does UFC 242 Start?
The UFC 242 start time is 2 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, September 7. It will be held in Abu Dhabi.
The prelim card kicks off at noon Eastern, with the early prelims starting at 10:15 a.m. Eastern.
How to Watch UFC 242 Online
You can find details on the UFC 242 price and bundle deal here.
The Unusual UFC 242 Start Time Is Due to the Fight’s Location
With the preliminary card kicking off at noon Eastern and the Early prelims starting even earlier at 10:15 a.m. ET, make sure you’re up early to catch all the exciting action+.
Given Abu Dhabi’s relatively close location to Russia (at least compared with venues in the United States), the card is loaded with Russian fighters. The majority of the fighters, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov included, hail from the Dagestan region, located north of Abu Dhabi and the Persian Gulf. The time change for opposing fighters will be extreme, and although most fighters arrive early in an effort to help adjust, the Dagestani fighters should have an advantage as most of them train in the region and won’t be facing nearly as tough of a time change.
UFC 242 Is the Second PPV Event Held in Abu Dhabi
The UFC hasn’t been to Abu Dhabi since UFC 112: Invincible back in 2010. The card was headlined by Anderson Silva taking on Damien Maia in what would be an extremely lopsided affair. Maia stepped in as a replacement for the intended challenger, Vitor Belfort, and was afraid to engage Silva throughout the course of the fight. Silva would win decisively on points to continue his reign as the middleweight king.
Also featured on the card was a lightweight championship showdown between Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn. Penn, the incumbent champion, was widely considered one of the best mixed martial artists on the planet having won belts in multiple divisions and taken on some of the sport’s most notable names. Edgar at the time was a relative unknown and took the fight to Penn, outworking him deep into the championship rounds and eventually coming away with a fairly decisive win on the scorecards. Edgar would go on to defend his belt in an immediate rematch against Penn that ended in a similar fashion.
UFC legend Matt Huges also made an appearance and picked up a win over Renzo Gracie of the famed Gracie Jiu-Jitsu family. While the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi is far less star-studded compared to the first time around, this card has the capacity to deliver one of the most exciting nights (or afternoons) of fights on the year.
Abu Dhabi Played Host to UFC Fight Night 39
While not as highly touted as its PPV predecessor, the UFC made its return to Abu Dhabi in 2014 with a UFC Fight Night card. Headlined by a heavyweight brawl between Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira that ended in first-round fireworks, the other big draw – Clay Guida vs Tatsuya Kawajiri – wound up being a three-round thriller. Guida and Kawajiri wound up taking home fight of the night honors while Nelson and Ramsey Nijem snagged performance bonuses for their highlight-reel knockout finishes.
UFC Fight Night 39 would mark the second to last time UFC legend Nogueira would step into the octagon. After losing in his next fight at UFC 190 to Stephen Struve, Nogueira decided to finally hang up the gloves after a long and illustrious career dating back to the early days of Pride FC.
While Nelson would stick around a bit longer, Nelson would only win twice more in his UFC career before cutting ties with the promotion and going into business with Bellator – where he has dropped his last three fights.
The UFC Intends to Return to Abu Dhabi, Often
The UFC recently announced that 242 will be a flagship event of sorts as they look to kick off a five-year partnership with Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi will get to play host to a steady stream of championship fights and looks to become one of the UFC’s preferred destinations over the next five years.
“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us deliver some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE. I’m very excited about this partnership and what it will mean for the growth of this sport and for UFC in the region.”
What this means is that UFC fans better be ready for considerably more early start times for UFC cards moving forward in the future.
UFC 242 Features the Return of Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov
The biggest storyline heading into UFC 242 is the return of lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov. Following his win, and subsequent melee, in the Conor McGregor fight, fans have been anxiously awaiting the return of the man who dispatched the original “champ champ” with ease. Numagomedov has a style of fighting tailor-made to give McGregor trouble and getting a test against an extremely well-rounded fighter in Dustin Poirier should be a great test of his overall game.
Poirier is coming off a convincing win over featherweight champion Max Holloway, who was stepping up to try and secure his second belt. The interim champion is a longtime UFC veteran that has shown an ability to consistently improve and adapt throughout the years. Showcasing some of the best striking of his career against Holloway, Poirier won’t be an easy stylistic matchup for Khabib.
Not only should Khabib be dealing with some ring rust but he will be looking to go to the ground with a crafty black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Khabib can do damage on his feet and has some extremely heavy hands, though his standup game is still incredibly raw and best utilized once he has established his takedowns as being something opposing fighters know they cannot escape. While Khabib is excellent at not giving any openings while he smothers opponents in top control, all it takes is one small mistake against someone as experienced as Poirier.
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