The UFC is finalizing the first fight for its return to the United Kingdom.
Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports that middleweights Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze are expected to share the Octagon at UFC 286, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for March 18 at the O2 Arena in London, England. Dolidze confirmed the report on social media.
In his most recent appearance, Vettori suffered a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC Paris in September. That fight saw a return from light heavyweight to middleweight for the ‘Italian Dream,’ who briefly moved up against Paulo Costa at UFC Vegas 41 in October. Vettori defeated Costa by unanimous decision.
Prior to that, Vettori fell short to ex-UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in his first championship opportunity.
UFC 286 on March 18 in London is close to finalizing its first big matchup. Per sources, Vettori (@MarvinVettori) vs. Dolidze (@romandolidzeufc) is on tap at middleweight. Nos. 4 and 8 in the rankings. pic.twitter.com/b6mKcf3h0R— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 15, 2022
Dolidze went from unranked to ranked after his ‘Performance of the Night’ awarded appearance at UFC Orlando earlier this month. The surging Georgian fighter accepted a short-notice fight against a divisional staple in Jack Hermansson, who he finished by second-round TKO. That was his third consecutive win by (T)KO, as Dolidze also finished Kyle Daukaus and Phil Hawes.
Vettori and Dolidze are ranked No. 4 and No. 8 in the division, respectively.
Aside from Vettori vs. Dolidze, no other fights are confirmed for UFC 286 at the time of this writing. That said, the trilogy between reigning UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman is expected to serve as the headliner. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more updates to the event as they become available in the coming months.