SINGAPORE - Mixed martial arts enthusiasts here may well see a host of world champions when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) holds its first event in Singapore in January.
But they will not be doing battle in the famous octagon, and instead, will feature in events leading up to the fight.
The UFC's Fight Night Singapore will be held at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Expo and Convention Centre on Jan 4 and will be headlined by a bout between Jake Ellenberger and debutant Tarec Saffiedine.
At the launch event Wednesday morning at the MBS ArtScience Museum, UFC Asia managing director Mark Fischer said: "We will have some guest fighters, who are either champions, former champions or contenders... as celebrity guests for the occasion.
"Next week, we are having a party to celebrate UFC's 20th anniversary and we're bringing Alexander Gustafsson, who's the top contender in the lightheavyweight category."
The event here is the first in Southeast Asia and third in Asia, after Japan and Macau.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch ceremony, Singapore Sports Council chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "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."
The Convention Centre will have a seating capacity of 5,500 and fans will see nine other fights, besides the main event.
Four other bouts were announced on Wednesday, with the remaining five fights to be revealed later.
In the lead-up to fight night, there will be public events such as weigh-ins and work-outs, where MMA fans without tickets to the event can get up close and personal with the fighters.
Tickets - which go on sale from 10am today - are priced from $88 to $688, and the organisers aim to make it an annual event.
"We think (the price of the most expensive tickets) is appropriate, there's a demand at that price point and typical for a UFC event," said Fischer.
"In the United States and around the world, our average ticket prices are usually second behind Formula 1, so this fits right into that bracket."
Welterweight: Jake "The Juggernaut" Ellenberger (US) v Tarec "Sponge" Saffiedine (Belgium)
Ranked fourth in the weight category, Ellenberger has a winloss record of 29-7. He lost his last bout against Rory MacDonald by an unanimous decision in July.
Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Saffiedine will make his UFC debut in Singapore.
Featherweight: Tatsuya Kawajiri (Japan) v Hacran Dias (Brazil) Welterweight: Kiichi Kunimoto (Japan) v Hyun Gyu Lim (South Korea)
Bantamweight: Shunichi Shimizu (Japan) v Kyung Ho Kang (South Korea)
Lightweight: Katsunori Kikuno (Japan) v Quinn Mulhern (US)
• Five more bouts to be announced
Tickets on sale
What: Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Night Singapore: Ellenberger v Saffiedine
Where: Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands
When: Jan 4, 2014
Tickets: $88, $188, $288, $488, $688 (excluding booking fee)
Tickets go on sale from 10am today and can be booked at www. marinabaysands.com/ticketing, or at Marina Bay Sands box offices and Sistic outlets.
For more information, please visit ufc.com.
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