After not receiving an event in 2016, Japan will receive a live UFC event at the Saitama Super Arena on Saturday, September 23rd. The UFC made the announcement official in a press release sent out earlier this week.
“Our fervent fan base in Japan is a cornerstone of our success in the region and we are thrilled to bring another action-packed live event to the market this year.” UFC Senior Vice President of International and Content, Joe Carr, said “Japan has a rich history in MMA and the traditional martial arts, making it an attractive destination for our athletes. There is already huge interest from both our athletes and fans surrounding this event.”
Following a twelve year absence from the country dating back to UFC 29 in Tokyo, the promotion made its return to Japan in February 2012 for UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson I. While that event was a pay-per-view, subsequent trips to the Saitama Super Arena have been Fight Night events. Wanderlei Silva’s stoppage of Brian Stann headlined a Fuel TV card in 2013, Mark Hunt’s KO of Roy Nelson was the Fight Pass main event in 2014, and most recently Josh Barnett’s unanimous decision over Roy Nelson in 2015 aired on FS1.
No fights have been booked for the event, and it’s unknown whether this card will air on UFC Fight Pass or Fox Sports 1. The other UFC shows confirmed for September are a Fight Night in the Netherlands on the 2nd, followed by UFC 216 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on the 9th.