Report: UFC targeting September event in Russia

Get the Full StoryUFC in Russia? It might just happen in 2018. 2018 might just mark the year the UFC makes the trip over to Russia for the first time.

Staff of one of Moscow s biggest arenas, Olympiyskiy Stadium, confirmed to RT Sport on Friday that the promotion currently holds two back-to-back dates, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, at the venue. At the time of this writing, the UFC has not announced any news regarding an event in Russia.

Typically, scheduling venues are part of early preparations of booking a UFC card. In other words, the UFC may not be fully committed to a Russia card in September just yet, but has already put a hold on a venue, since that is the direction plans are headed in.

Olympiyskiy Stadium can hold up to 35,000 people.

The idea of the UFC hosting a card in Russia has been up in the air for some time. In August 2016, one month after Russian lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov stopped Michael Johnson at UFC 200, UFC president Dana White said the promotion was talking about an event in Russia featuring The Eagle. White said in February 2017 that the leading MMA company would go to Russia within that calendar year. That, of course, did not happen.

News of a potential Russia event came to light yet again last June when White said UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor told the promotion head he wanted to fight Nurmagomedov in Nurmagomedov s home country.

Nurmagomedov returned to action at UFC 219 late last December and dominated Edson Barboza, winning by lopsided unanimous decision. He wants either McGregor or interim champ Tony Ferguson next, but recently said he would be open to squaring off with ex-titleholder Eddie Alvarez if the promotion books McGregor vs. Ferguson.

Nurmagomedov would be the obvious choice for a main-event fighter in Russia, but his inclusion on the card is far from a done deal. That said, his father and coach, Abdulmanap, told RT Sport that the UFC s debut in Russia would likely be connected with us.

It is not yet clear whether the UFC would host a pay-per-view or Fight Night card as its first event in Russia.