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Nick Diaz-Vicente Luque, Tony Ferguson-Michael Chiesa Set for UFC Abu Dhabi


The Ultimate Fighting Championship has put together a beast of a main card for its return to Abu Dhabi this fall.

On Wednesday, the organization announced the full five-fight slate for the main card of UFC on ABC 7. The fights will be held at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Aug. 3. Headlining the card will be the previously booked bantamweight showdown of Cory Sandhagen vs. Umar Nurmagomedov. Additionally, the UFC confirmed the bantamweight battle between Marlon Vera and Deiveson Figueiredo. Three other newly released matchups will round out the billing.

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In the co-headliner spot, Nick Diaz (26-10, 2 NC) will make his return to the Octagon in the welterweight division. The 40-year-old Cesar Gracie Fight Team staple will stand across the cage from Vicente Luque in a five-round affair. This will be Diaz’ first fight since facing Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 in 2021, and only his third appearance in the last 10 years. With decision losses to Carlos Condit and Georges St. Pierre in 2012 and 2013, respectively, Diaz’ lone additional bout came against Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in what turned into a no contest when both fighters failed post-fight drug tests. The former Strikeforce champ has not won since defeating B.J. Penn at UFC 137 in 2011.

Brazil’s Luque has struggled as of late as well, although he did get his hand raised once in 2023. In his last four outings, Luque was punched out by Joaquin Buckley and Geoff Neal, while dropping a decision to Belal Muhammad. Interspersed between those losses was a five-round triumph over Rafael dos Anjos. As one of seven 170-pounders with at least 15 wins in the UFC, Luque holds the No. 2 spot for finishes at the division with 13, while trailing Matt Brown’s 15.

Further down the card, Tony Ferguson (25-10) will make what the UFC called his potentially last appearance at the age of 40 when he fights fellow aging vet Michael Chiesa (16-7). The two welterweights have lost their last combined 10 fights, with Ferguson on a record-tying winless streak of seven while Chiesa has dropped three in a row. Before losing seven consecutive outings, Ferguson amassed a win streak of 12 that included nine stoppages while beating names including Anthony Pettis, dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone. His opponent Chiesa’s longest victorious stretch in the UFC came when he took out Condit, Diego Sanchez, dos Anjos and Neil Magny to earn a crack at Luque, only to get tapped in the first round with a brabo choke.

Finally, strawweights will take the cage as Mackenzie Dern (13-5) throws down with Lupita Godinez (12-4) in matchup with top-10 ramifications. Vaunted grappler Dern will try to turn things around after falling short in back-to-back matchups against Jessica Andrade and Amanda Lemos. While she has not landed one since armbarring Nina Nunes in 2021, Dern still holds the UFC strawweight record for the most submissions (four). Godinez saw her four-fight win streak come to a grinding halt against Virna Jandiroba in March. With 26 takedowns landed in her 115-pound tenure, Godinez is good for the third-most in the division behind Claudia Gadelha (36) and Carla Esparza (45).
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