MMA: UFC Fight Night Singapore on June 23 to feature Cowboy Cerrone v Rocky Edwards

Leon "Rocky" Edwards (right) in action with Peter Sobotta at the UFC fight night in London on March 17, 2018.
Leon "Rocky" Edwards (right) in action with Peter Sobotta at the UFC fight night in London on March 17, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to Singapore on June 23, and in a big way.

On Monday (April 16), the American mixed martial arts (MMA) juggernaut confirmed that American welterweight Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone will attempt to set a record for most UFC wins against British upstart Leon "Rocky" Edwards in the main event of the UFC Fight Night: Singapore event, which will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

In its announcement, the UFC also said it has agreed a multi-year event deal that will see it make annual stops in Singapore over the next three years.

Said UFC vice-president, Asia Pacific, Kevin Chang: "After evaluating the success of our events last year, the appetite from our partners and rapidly growing MMA fan base, we feel it is the right time to make the Lion City a regular, annual stop on our live events calendar.

"Singapore is home to South-east Asia's biggest and most talked-about events and remains a key market for us.

"We look forward to building on our growth from 2017, as we bring fans in this region even closer to world class MMA."

Added Sports Hub Pte Ltd chief commercial officer Adam Firth: "The Singapore Sports Hub is thrilled to host the UFC again at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

"UFC is an undisputed heavyweight in world sport, and the leading MMA franchise globally.

"UFC Fight Night Singapore continues to be a highlight on our sporting calendar. Together with UFC, we greatly look forward to presenting more world-class mixed martial arts to fans from the region."

The Fight Night event in June will be the UFC's third show in the Republic.

The first was the Fight Night 34 in January 2014, which was headlined by Belgian Tarec Saffiedine's decision victory over South Korean Lim Hyun Gyu.

The event, watched by over 5,000 fans at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, also featured Holloway, then 23, on the undercard.

Following a three-year hiatus, the UFC returned last June when American Holly Holm knocked out Brazilian Bethe Correia in the main fight of the Fight Night 111 event at the Indoor Stadium.

Almost 8,500 fans turned up to watch other fighters like Andrei Arlovski, Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington.

Last month, The Straits Times reported that two-time featherweight champion Jose Aldo had agreed to fight fifth-ranked Jeremy Stephens in Singapore.

But American Stephens wanted the fight to take place at UFC 225 in Chicago. Now, it appears their match is slated for a UFC event in Canada in July.

That also opened the door for the Cerrone-Edwards fight to main event the card.

The pair attended the UFC 25th anniversary press conference on April 6, which took place just after the weigh-ins for the UFC 223 event in Brooklyn, New York on April 7.

Edwards, 26, did most of the talking then, and promised he would deny Cerrone his 26th victory that would put him in the record books.

The 35-year-old Ohio native is currently tied with Georges St Pierre and Michael Bisping with the most number of UFC wins.

"I've been calling out Top-10 guys for a while now, so its good to see my hard work paying off," said Edwards at the press conference.

"Come June, I'll put this man away, so its all good."

Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT® SINGAPORE presented by AirAsia will go on general sale on Wednesday April 25 via Sports Hub Tix and will be available for purchase online at www.sportshubtix.sg, the Sports Hub Tix Box Office, Sports Hub Tix Outlets at all SingPost locations, and by calling Sports Hub Tix Hotline at +65 3158 7888.

Early bird promotions will be available from April 25 - May 9.

For pre-sales tickets information, register at www.ufc.com/singapore