The Ultimate Fighting Championship debuts in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, with UFC Fight Night Singapore: Ellenberger vs. Saffiedine. Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 10 a.m.
The main card will feature a five-round welterweight bout between two world-class fighters Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger and former Strikeforce champion Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine. Ellenberger is No. 4 in the division, while Belgium-born Saffiedine is set for his UFC debut in Singapore after posting four straight wins in Strikeforce to become welterweight champion before the promotion was closed.
The first ever UFC event in Southeast Asia will also showcase the UFC debut performance of long-time Japanese star fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri, riding a five-fight victorious streak, going up against Brazil’s Hacran Dias at featherweight along with a pair of clashes between up-and-coming Japanese and South Koreans: Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Hyun Gyu Lim in a welterweight bout, and Shunichi Shimizu vs. Kyung Ho Kang at bantamweight. Rounding out the card is another UFC debutante Katsunori Kikuno of Japan – also on a five-fight winning streak – taking on Quinn Mulhern at lightweight, and other talented MMA fighters from across the continent, with more bouts to be revealed in the coming weeks.
“UFC is excited to have finally landed in Singapore, a growing regional hub for both marquee sporting events and for mixed martial arts,” said Mark Fischer, Managing Director of UFC Asia. “The Singapore government’s vision in this area and support from the likes of the Singapore Sports Council, Singapore Tourism Board and Economic Development Board; as well as partners like Marina Bay Sands encouraged UFC to be the first global sports body to set up its Asian headquarters in Singapore. We know UFC fans across the region have been hoping to see world-class fighters in action and what better way to kick off our series of events in Asia in 2014 than through an event right here at the beautiful Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.”
Equally excited about UFC making its debut in Singapore were Marina Bay Sands’ President and Chief Executive, George Tanasijevich and Singapore Sports Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Lim Teck Yin.
“UFC has been at the forefront of mixed martial arts and Marina Bay Sands is pleased to host the first of its fights in Southeast Asia,” added Mr. Tanasijevich. “This is a momentous event for Singapore as such international sporting events make their way to this part of the world. This event is part of our ongoing commitment to making Marina Bay Sands the best business, leisure and entertainment destination in Asia.”
Mr. Lim said, “We are thrilled that the UFC has chosen Singapore for its first foray into Southeast Asia. This is an excellent opportunity for our sports industry to showcase its capabilities in hosting world class events, and in turn reinforces Singapore’s growing status as a global sports and entertainment destination. With mixed martial arts picking up in Singapore, we hope that more people will embrace the disciplined and healthy lifestyle that the sport demands.”
The Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands has been the venue of choice for several sporting events such as the Z1 Pro-Fencing World Series, which took place in 2010 and 2011, the Indoor Archery World Cup 2011 and the Lotus on Water Cup International Wushu Meet in 2010, showcasing the flexibility of the space.