Khabib Nurmagomedov’s upstart MMA promotion, Eagle FC, is looking to make a real splash in the combat sports market. And, like so many promotions that have come before it, their principal strategy seems to revolve around signing as many of the most notable free agents on the MMA market as they can get their hands on.
Their upcoming show, Eagle FC 44, on January 28th, is set to feature former GLORY kickboxing star Tyrone Spong, taking on PRIDE & Bellator talent Sergei Kharitonov in the main event. The card is also expected to feature former UFC fighters Ray Borg & Cody Gibson, Renan Barao, John Howard, and Rashad Evans.
So, it’s with little surprise, then, that the Dagestan-based organization would also be the landing point for two more of the UFC’s most notable former talents: Kevin Lee & Diego Sanchez.
Lee announced via Instagram (before deleting) that he and Sanchez have agreed to a bout on March 11th, at an as of yet unannounced Eagle FC fight card.
“Christmas came early this year! Contract signed. I’m fighting the first ever Ultimate Fighter March 11th in Miami #EagleFC”
Lee’s exit from the UFC was announced just back in November, shortly following news of a six month suspension from competition by the Nevada Athletic Commission—due to his failure to get a therapeutic-use exemption for Adderall to treat ADHD symptoms. That capped a difficult several-years long run for the ‘Motown Phenom’, who is just 2-4 over his last six bouts since competing against Tony Ferguson for the UFC’s interim lightweight championship back in 2017. Most recently, Lee lost to rising welterweight talent Daniel Rodriguez—his only fight of 2021.
For Diego Sanchez, his removal from the UFC’s roster was made official in April of 2021, following a series of questionable interactions between Sanchez’s then head coach, Joshua Fabia, and other fighters and members of the UFC’s staff. Coupled with apparent concerns from the UFC about Sanchez’s ability to pass pre-fight medicals the promotion decided to part ways with the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner.
If there’s any surprise about the announcement of this booking at all, its that Sanchez is only a few weeks removed from a case of COVID-19 serious enough to require hospitalization. Even as of December 12th, Sanchez was posting about his continued recovery on Twitter.
Hopefully, with the fight against Lee still more than two months away, that will be all the time needed for Sanchez to prepare for a return to the cage. At the moment, no other bouts have been announced for Eagle FC’s March 11th fight card, and a location for the event has yet to be named.