The UFC will be returning to Japan, which has strong ties to MMA’s roots. The promotion made recent trips to Brazil and Australia, which were very successful.
The trips to Brazil and Australia were very successful and that’s one of the reasons why the UFC decided to return to Japan. The UFC confirmed that they will put on a show in Japan on February 26, 2012, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama.
The UFC has not been back in Japan since 2000. The UFC held an event in 1997 at the Yokohama Arena, where a heavyweight tournament took place, which featured fighters such as Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture and Kazushi Sakuraba. The UFC also visited Japan once in 1999 and twice in 2000, which featured fighters such as Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Wanderlei Silva.
Even though the UFC has not been back there since 2000, MMA grew in popularity, thanks to the success of PRIDE Fighting Championships. Quinton Jackson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira are very popular in Japan. The two fighters had great success when they fought in PRIDE.
According to ESPN, Dana White, CEO of the UFC, promised that there will be some big names fighting. The event will either be a Fight Night or part of the numbered series, but as of now it has not been decided.
According to Bleacher Report, although there are no matches lined up for the event, Japanese fighters Yoshihiro Akiyama and Yushin Okami will more than likely have matches.
The Saitama Super Arena is able to seat 22,500 people.