Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

UFC

Mounir Lazzez poised for second UFC Fight Island bout in Abu Dhabi

Tunisian impressed on his UFC debut at the first Fight Island and is set to face David Zawada when the series returns to the capital

Dubai resident Mounir Lazzez is poised to make his second UFC appearance by competing at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi next month.

The Tunisian, who trains out of Team Nogueira Dubai martial arts and fitness academy, debuted during the promotion’s inaugural residency in the capital in July, where he defeated Ghanaian Abdul Razak Alhassan by unanimous decision. It earned Lazzez a Fight of the Night bonus, while also lifting his professional record to 10-1.

The former Desert Force welterweight champion has now been slated for a place on the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi, with a bout against German David Zawada in the works for October 18 - the fourth of five events in the series. However, the UFC have yet to officially announce the bout.

A Dubai resident since 2012, Lazzez impressed Dana White on his debut on July 16, with the UFC president saying after the event that he would be keen to have the fighter compete before the end of the year.

In an interview with The National during the first Fight Island run, White said Lazzez could be a catalyst for more regional talent to emerge.

"Look at what happened: Arab talent is actually starting to win," he said. "Lazzez won a legit fight against a very, very tough opponent. They ended up being Fight of the Night.

“So now, after us being in this market for 10 to 12 years, you're starting to see real talent coming out of here now too, which is just another indicator of how big the possibilities are here in the Middle East."

Lazzez's expected opponent, Zawada, has fought in the UFC three times previously, losing his opening two outings before recording a first-round submission victory against debutant Abubakar Nurmagomedov last November. The win earned Zawada Performance of the Night. His overall professional record stands at 17-5.

The October 18 event is set to be headlined by featherweight contenders Brian Ortega and Jung Chan-sung, popularly known as “The Korean Zombie”. Jessica Andrade, the former strawweight champion who also competed at Fight Island in July, is signed to feature too, in a flyweight clash with Katlyn Chookagian.

Fight Island 2 comprises two pay-per-view events among its five shows, opening with UFC 253 on September 27 and closing with UFC 254 on October 24. The opening night is headlined by middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s title defence against Paulo Costa, while Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz battle for the vacant light heavyweight crown.

At UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov goes up against Justin Gaethje in their eagerly anticipated lightweight unification bout, marking the undefeated champion’s return to the octagon in more than a year. Gaethje is the current interim title-holder. Full cards for all five events have yet to be released.

Updated: September 10, 2020 05:01 PM

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