UFC announces 2020 return to Auckland, New Zealand

Dan Hooker

The UFC is set to return to Auckland, New Zealand in the New Year. This UFC Auckland card was announced by the promotion on Twitter.

The home turf of Dan Hooker and Israel Adesanya and the birthplace of former UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker, Auckland is set to host the Octagon on February 23.

At this stage, all signs point to Hooker headlining the UFC Auckland event. In his last fight at UFC 243, he defeated Al Iaquinta via decision. He does not currently have a fight scheduled.

It is unlikely Whittaker will be fighting on this card, as the former champion is rumoured to be fighting rising middleweight contender Darren Till in the UK. Adesanya, meanwhile, is rumoured to be fighting Yoel Romero but nothing has been finalized yet. Flyweight fighter and New Zealand native Kai Kara-France is also already locked into a fight, as he’ll be taking on Brandon Moreno at UFC 245 in December.

The UFC last held an event in New Zealand in 2017. The card was headlined by a heavyweight battle between Mark Hunt and Derrick Lewis. Over 8600 fans were in attendance and watched the Kiwi heavyweight knock out Lewis in round four.

The upcoming UFC Auckland event will likely host a variety of Australian talent. Australian fighter Daniel Kelly fought Derek Brunson on the main card of the promotion’s last visit to the country, losing via first-round KO. He hasn’t fought since a 2018 loss against Tom Breese which brought his losing streak to three straight. If the 42-year-old ends up fighting on the card, it will likely be his last fight, as he has been teasing retirement for some time.

Australian featherweight Megan Anderson could also end up competing on this card. She’s riding high on a big submission win over Zarah Fairn Dos Santos.

Who would you like to see compete on this newly announced UFC Auckland card?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/18/2019.