On Monday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship's 2018 pay-per-view debut was revealed with UFC 220 bound for Boston in January. Less than a full day later, the promotion is teasing some high stakes for in a new location for its second PPV of the forthcoming year.
Tuesday, it was announced that UFC 221 will take place on Feb. 11 -- Feb. 10 for North American viewers -- at the Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia. It will be the UFC's 12th show in Australia, but the Octagon's debut in the country's fourth-largest city; the state of Western Australia had outlawed the use of the cage as an fighting venue for MMA competition under former premier Colin Barnett in 2013. This past June, under incumbent premier Mark McGowan, the cage ban was lifted, paving the way for the UFC's entry into the state.
While far from confirmed and contingent on the outcome of the main event of this weekend's UFC 217 card at Madison Square Garden in New York, the promotion is targeting a main event between current UFC interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and the winner of Saturday's middleweight title showdown between Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre. Whittaker took his interim slice of the title at UFC 213 in July, defeating Yoel Romero by unanimous decision. “The Reaper” sustained a knee injury early in the Romero clash, necessitating surgery that put him out for the rest of 2017.
“This isn’t just huge news for UFC, but for the sport of MMA in Western Australia. Finally, MMA can be competed nationwide in the field of play specifically designed for the sport,” said Whittaker in a press release.
“Anything can happen between now and Sunday, February 11. With that said, fighting on home soil is always a dream come true and I’d love to unify the UFC middleweight title here in Australia,” the UFC interim champion continued. “My next stop is New York City to be Octagon-side for UFC 217 -- let’s see what happens in that main event between Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre.”