UFC to return to China in August

Weili Zhang

The UFC is headed back to China.

Officials announced on Monday that the promotion will hold UFC Fight Night 157 at Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China on August 31. The card will be broadcast live on ESPN+.

MMAjunkie.com has collected some more information on the show.

No bouts have been made official for the event yet. However, it is very like that the No. 6 ranked women’s strawweight Weili Zhang will fight on the card. She is arguably the best Chinese fighter on the promotion’s roster right now. As well, look for Li Jingliang — arguably the most accomplished male Chinese fighter in the UFC — to be on the card. Xiaonan Yan, who fights Angela Hill in June at UFC 238, could make a quick return to the Octagon if she wins that fight. Other Chinese fighters including Wu Yanan, Song Yadong, Guan Wang, Wuliji Buren, Kenan Song, and Pingyuan Liu will likely have a place on the card, as long as they are healthy.

The fact the UFC is coming back to China this year is just another sign how important of a market the country is for the promotion.

This is the third year in a row that the promotion has held an event in China. In November 2018, the Octagon landed at Cadillac Arena in Beijing, China for UFC Fight Nigh 141, with Francis Ngannou knocking out Curtis Blaydes in the main event. In November 2017, UFC Fight Night 122 took place in Shanghai, China, with Kelvin Gastelum knocking out Michael Bisping in the main event. The promotion previously held three events in Macau as well.

Additionally, the UFC confirmed its new Performance Institute in Shanghai is still scheduled to open in June. That the UFC is building a PI in China should be a huge boost to all the up-and-coming talent in the world’s most populous country, and it’s yet another sign of the promotion’s commitment to growing the sport of MMA in China.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/20/2019.