The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion has announced it will stage a live event in China for the first time in four years in December.
The series will return to the Asian country with UFC Fight Night Shanghai and the finals for Road to UFC season two on December 9.
The event marks the second time the promotion has held a UFC event in Shanghai with the first being UFC Fight Night 122 in November 2015.
Rio Strong, the fizzy wine brand and official UFC partner, will serve as the presenting sponsor of the event.
This will be the fourth event UFC has held in mainland China and will take place at the newly renovated Shanghai Indoor Stadium, in cooperation with Shanghai Sports Federation and Xuhui District Sports Bureau.
UFC Fight Night Shanghai features four finale bouts for season 2 of Road to UFC, a knockout tournament for Asia's top MMA prospects.
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The finals will take place on the preliminary card in front of a live arena crowd, with the winners to earn UFC contracts.
Endeavor China, an arm of the international entertainment and sports giant that owns UFC, is the official UFC event promoter in Shanghai.
Endeavor took full control of the Endeavor China subsidiary in April 2022.
In 2019, UFC opened its second Performance Institute in Shanghai which cost around $13 million.
Kevin Chang, UFC senior vice president and head of Asia said: “Our first UFC Shanghai event back in 2017 was a historic evening that broke records, created lasting memories, and announced UFC’s arrival in mainland China.
“We can't wait to put on another incredible show for our passionate fans and showcase the next generation of UFC athletes from the country. To be able to host this event back where it all started, in this incredible city where we are headquartered and have made significant investments to change the sport, is a fitting way to write the next chapter of the growth of MMA in China.”
Sum Huang, chief executive of Endeavor China, added, “Endeavor China’s partnership with UFC has been instrumental in the rapid growth of MMA in China, and we are proud to play a role in serving passionate combat sports fans across the country.
“Building on our successful debut in Shanghai in 2017, we are excited to bring another sensational event to the city and highlight the promising new wave of UFC athletes representing our country inside the rejuvenated Shanghai Indoor Stadium.”
UFC recently extended its existing partnership with Abu Dhabi’s tourism board to continue to bring one “numbered event featuring a championship bout to the Emirate every year,” with the deal struck through the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT).