Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

UFC

Ottman Azaitar set to compete at UFC Fight Island after explosive return in Las Vegas

Moroccan fighter had not fought since his UFC debut 12 months ago but produced another early stoppage win on Sunday morning

Ottman Azaitar, left, celebrates after his victory over Khama Worthy in a lightweight fight at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
Ottman Azaitar, left, celebrates after his victory over Khama Worthy in a lightweight fight at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

Moroccan Ottman Azaitar is set to compete on the upcoming Fight Island series in Abu Dhabi, following another spectacular victory at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Sunday morning.

The unbeaten lightweight, 30, took only 93 seconds to defeat American Khama Worthy by TKO in the co-main event at the Apex, finishing his opponent with a flurry of punches.

It took Azaitar to two wins from two in the UFC – he triumphed on debut at last year’s UFC 242, also in Abu Dhabi – while his overall professional record now stands at 13-0.

Twelve of those successes have come via finishes, including nine knockouts. Worthy, meanwhile, had won his past seven fights.

Asked post-event about Azaitar turning around almost immediately to compete on Fight Island, which is scheduled in Abu Dhabi for September 27-October 24, UFC president Dana White said: “He is.”

On whether his next opponent was already confirmed, White said: “No. We’re good, but we’re not that good.”

A former Brave lightweight champion, Azaitar had to wait more than a year between his two UFC bouts. In September last year, he knocked out Finn Teemu Packalen in the first round to receive Performance of the Night. Azaitar picked up the same bonus on Sunday for the display against Worthy.

“I would say I appreciated this fight more because the UFC gave us the opportunity to be the co-main event and they put such a big trust in us,” Azaitar said. “I won’t say I wanted from the beginning a knockout, but at least to give people what they want to see: fights, smashes, blood… we have to be exciting for the people.

“You can make any fight much safer if you just score points, take care and don’t take risks, but we have to take risks. If you don’t take risks, you might win the fight, but you don’t win people’s hearts. That’s what makes a difference.”

On when he will return to the octagon, Azaitar said: “I’m ready anytime. I didn’t get injured in this fight. I said this also before this fight. If everything goes well and I’m not injured, then it’s a matter of my brother and manager to decide it. He tells me what’s going on next and we make it. I’m open to everything.”

In an interview with The National last week, Azaitar was asked about competing on Fight Island should he get past Worthy, and responded: “I make always step-by-step. I finish this step, and everything goes good, no injuries, and yes I’m open for any next opportunity of chance to get back into cage. Wherever it is.”

While not yet confirmed by local organsiers, Fight Island is slated to open on September 27 with UFC 253 and conclude with UFC 254 on October 24. There will be five events in all.

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Photos from Ottman Azaitar's win at UFC 242

Updated: September 13, 2020 10:50 AM

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