Feb 29, 2016
(PRESS RELEASE) – Las Vegas – Legends of mixed martial arts, as well as some of the sport’s brightest young stars will enter the Octagon® when UFC® returns to Tampa for the first time since 2009. With a potential shot at the world title on the line, top contenders Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson collide in the ultra-competitive 155-pound division live on FOX in the five-round main event of UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: NURMAGOMEDOV vs. FERGUSON on Saturday, April 16 at Amalie Arena.

A world-class wrestler, No.2 Nurmagomedov (22-0, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia) poses a serious threat for anyone in the division and boasts an undefeated record that includes a victory over current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. Looking to derail the Russian’s hype train is No. 4 Ferguson (21-3, fighting out of Ventura, Calif.), who has reeled off seven straight wins. With a resume that includes victories over Edson Barboza and Abel Trujillo, The Ultimate Fighter® season 13 winner hopes to take one step closer to joining Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Matt Serra and Carla Esparza as the only fighters to win The Ultimate Fighter as well as a UFC world title.

In the co-main event, No. 7 Rashad Evans (24-4-1, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) looks to climb back up the 205-pound ladder against No. 8 Mauricio Rua (23-10, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil). A former standout wrestler at Michigan State, “Suga” will have to utilize his wrestling pedigree to handle the strength and precision of one of the most aggressive Muay Thai practitioners in Shogun. The ultimate chess match will play out between two former light heavyweight champions finally go toe-to-toe.

Plus, dynamic striker and fourth-ranked Lyoto Machida (22-7, fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif.) meets heavy-handed No.14 Dan Henderson (31-14, fighting out of Temecula, Calif.) in a rematch of a 2013 showdown won by the Brazilian. Machida’s striking and creative angles have landed him the second most knockdowns in UFC history with 13 (A. Silva 17). Henderson has one of the most feared right hands in the sport which has led to knockouts of elite level fighters such as Shogun, Fedor Emilianenko, Michael Bisping and Wanderlei Silva.

Additional bouts:

· Two of the top strawweights in the world clash as No. 3 Rose Namajunas (5-2, fighting Denver, Colo.) meets No. 4 Tecia Torres (7-0, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) in a rematch that has both hoping for a shot at the world title with a win.

· Rising prospect and No. 8 Beneil Dariush (12-1, fighting out of Yorba Linda, Calif.) returns to the Octagon to face the crafty No. 13 Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (12-2, fighting out of Spokane Valley, Wash.), in a lightweight bout.

· No. 8 women’s bantamweight Bethe Correia (9-1, fighting out of Campina Grande, Paraiba Brazil) returns to the Octagon for the first time since her bout with Ronda Rousey to face No. 13 Raquel Pennington (6-6, fighting out of Colorado Springs, Colo.).

· Knockout artist No. 6 Cub Swanson (21-7, fighting out of Palm Springs, Calif.) clashes with jiu jitsu ace No. 10 Hacran Dias (23-3-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) in a featherweight bout.

· Brazilian jiu jitsu specialists Cezar Ferreira (9-5, fighting out of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil) and Caio Magalhaes (9-2, fighting out of Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil) meet in a welterweight showdown.

· Well-rounded wrestler Court McGee (17-4, fighting out of Orem, Utah) meets jiu jitsu ace Santiago Ponzinibbio (22-3, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) in a welterweight clash.

Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: NURMAGOMEDOV vs. FERGUSON go on sale Friday, February 26 at 10 a.m. ET and are priced at $225, $175, $125, $90, $75, $50 and $40 (prices do not include applicable service charges and handling fees). Tickets are available at the McDonald’s Ticket Office at Amalie Arena, online at www.ticketmaster.com and by phone at (800) 745-3000. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.

UFC Fight Club® members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, February 24 at 10 a.m. ET via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, February 25 starting at 10 a.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: NURMAGOMEDOV vs. FERGUSON will air live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 16, with the prelims kicking off the evening on FOX at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.

About UFC®

UFC® is a premium global sports brand and the largest pay-per-view event provider in the world. Headquartered in Las Vegas with offices in London, Toronto, Sao Paulo and Singapore, UFC produces more than 40 live events annually that consistently sell out some of the most prestigious arenas around the globe. UFC programming is broadcast in over 150 countries and territories to more than one billion TV households worldwide in 21 different languages. UFC FIGHT PASS®, a digital subscription service, delivers exclusive live events, thousands of fights on-demand and original content to fans around the world. For more information, visit UFC.com and follow UFC at Facebook.com/UFC, Twitter and Instagram: @UFC.

AMALIE Arena/Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC:

Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, LLC is an entity established by Jeff Vinik in March, 2010 to manage the National Hockey’s League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm and the leasehold rights to AMALIE Arena, the 19,092-seat downtown Tampa home in which the teams play their games. The venue opened in 1996 and was named the Ice Palace at the time, but it became AMALIE Arena in September, 2014 when the family-owned, Tampa Bay-based AMALIE Oil Company elected to partner with Vinik and Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment. Since Vinik’s purchase in 2010, he has led a complete brand and business transformation of the Lightning, the Storm and the arena which was anchored by a mostly private $85+ million dollar renovation of the publicly owned facility. In 2014-15, the Lightning won the NHL’s Eastern Conference Championship, later appearing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.


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