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Israel Adesanya vs Khamzat Chimaev fight ‘leaked’ on Saudi ticket website ahead of June UFC card

The UFC will make its debut in the Gulf state on 22 June

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Wednesday 21 February 2024 17:34 GMT
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Israel Adesanya vs Khamzat Chimaev may be set to headline the UFC’s first event in Saudi Arabia, after a website posted a ticket link for the fight.

The UFC was due to stage its first card in Saudi Arabia in March, but the event was pushed back to 22 June, with reports suggesting that key figures in the Gulf state were unhappy with the quality of the proposed fights. UFC president Dana White dismissed those reports.

In any case, the UFC may stage one of its biggest fights of the year in Saudi Arabia, after Adesanya vs Chimaev was advertised on a ticket website for Kingdom Arena as of Tuesday (20 February).

While the website states it is “not an official site” – which the UFC reiterated – it insists: “We sell only official tickets and guarantee their authenticity to our clients.”

Adesanya last fought in September, when the Nigerian-born New Zealander lost the first defence of his second reign as UFC middleweight champion. Adesanya, 34, lost to Sean Strickland on points in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.

Russian-born Chimaev, who fights out of the United Arab Emirates, last fought in October, outpointing ex-welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the latter’s debut at middleweight. That result kept Chimaev, 29, unbeaten as a professional with a record of 13-0 – including six knockouts/TKOs and five submissions.

A Saudi ticket website posted a link to Israel Adesanya vs Khamzat Chimaev (The Independent)

Adesanya vs Chimaev has been discussed by fans since the latter made his UFC debut in 2020 and put together a searing run, despite the Russian failing to fight at 185lbs consistently; three of Chimaev’s seven UFC wins have come at welterweight, and one took place at a catchweight between the two divisions.

Adesanya initially reigned as middleweight champion from 2019 until 2022. The “Last Stylebender” successfully retained the belt five times before losing it to his old kickboxing rival Alex Pereira. Adesanya avenged that TKO loss with a knockout in April 2023, before losing the title again in his fight with Strickland.

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