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UFC is coming to Docklands

03 Sep 2015

UFC is coming to Docklands Image

Docklands’ Etihad Stadium will host Australia’s first UFC title fight this November.

UFC champion Ronda Rousey will take on Holly Holm in the headline event on Sunday,  November 15, in front of an expected crowd of 70,000.

Stadium chief Paul Sergeant said he expected the event to be a complete sell-out, and all eyes will be on the stadium, with an anticipated global audience of tens of million watching from around the world.

The staging of a UFC event in Docklands was made possible after the State Government lifted a ban on cage fighting in March.

The Docklands Community Association has previously voiced its opposition to the event being held in Docklands and had raised concerns about the risk of anti-social behaviour.

However, Mr Sergeant said the stadium had a flawless record when it came to hosting and delivering elite and international sport and entertainment events.

“It’s always our team’s priority to ensure patrons have a first-class experience while inside the venue and then depart our venue safely.”

“We have watched the delivery of UFC capture the imagination of fans all around the globe,” Mr Sergeant said. “I am aware from previous personal experience that the professionalism of Tom Wright and his UFC team provides an entertaining, massively popular and safe event for the hundreds of thousands of fans who have become devotees of the sport.”

And the event is likely to have major benefits for Docklands and Melbourne.

“We know it will be a massive success and will draw fans from all corners of Australia,” Mr Sergeant said.

“We’re confident that there will be fantastic economic spin-offs for the city, including the accommodation and entertainment industries. Melbourne will be the winner,” he said.

Docklands Chamber of Commerce has put its support behind the event and said local businesses would welcome the anticipated crowds.

“We’re fully supportive of the activities Etihad Stadium hosts,” chamber president Joh Maxwell said.

“We look forward to welcoming all of the UFC visitors to Docklands and into our local businesses.”

UFC president Dana White said the Melbourne event would be the biggest UFC event ever.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Melbourne, title fights and stadium shows. The UFC is doing all three at Etihad Stadium in front of 70,000 people,” Mr White said.

“Australia has been an amazing market for the UFC and to thank the Aussies for all of their support we are bringing the superstar of the welterweight division, UFC World Champion Robbie Lawler.”

Alongside the headline fight of Lalwer vs Condit, the UFC event will also see Australian Mark Hunt take on Antonio Silva in a rematch of their 2013 “Fight of the Year” draw.

Sydney-sider Robert Whittaker will take on England’s Michael Bisping, while Melburnian Jake Matthews will compete against Akbarh Arreola.

Australian mixed martial artist Kyle Noke will take on Germany’s Peter Sobotto and Sydney’s Anthoney Perosh will take on Armerican Gian Villante.

Four-time Australian judo Olympian and Melburnian Daniel Kelly will fight Brazilian Jiu-Jistisu specialist Ricardo Abreu.

And in an Australian show down, Sydney’s Richard Walsh will take on Western Australia’s Steve Kennedy.

Additional bouts for the November 15 event are expected to be announced.

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