LAS VEGAS,Nv. — UFC® announced today that it will be returning to the Saitama Super Arena on the 27th September 2015 with UFC Fight Night Japan. This will be the fourth UFC event in Japan and the second event in Asia this year. In addition to bringing fans a live event, UFC have also confirmed that they are producing a brand new reality TV show, ROAD TO UFC: JAPAN, which will follow eight Japanese mixed martial arts (MMA) hopefuls who will be competing against each other for the opportunity to win a UFC contract.
Executive Vice President and General Manager, UFC Asia, Ken Berger said: “We are very happy to be bringing our live event to the Saitama Super Arena once again this year. There is a rich and diverse MMA talent in Japan and we’re positive that through ROAD TO UFC: JAPAN, we will uncover more UFC prospects. We have recently witnessed the fast power of Kyoji Horiguchi in the Octagon® against flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and it really is only a matter of time before we see a champion emerge from Japan.”
ROAD TO UFC: JAPAN will see eight MMA athletes train both in their hometowns and in Las Vegas at the TUF Gym under the supervision of coaches and UFC stars, Roy Nelson “Big Country” (21-11-0, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., USA) and Josh Barnett “The Warmaster” (33-7-0 fighting out of Seattle, Wash., USA). Throughout the course of the series, match ups will be selected and fights will be scheduled to whittle the contestants down to two finalists, who will then participate in the live event at the Saitama Super Arena. Coaches Nelson and Barnett will also step into the Octagon® in a 5 round main event on September 27. The TV show will be broadcast in Japan beginning in July, airing weekly until September, and culminating at UFC FIGHT NIGHT: JAPAN.
UFC is the fastest growing sports organization in the world and is viewed as the pinnacle of MMA by both athletes and fans. With close to 40 Asian fighters signed to its roster, UFC in Asia is growing at an exponential rate. Previous events in the region have taken place in Macao, Manila, Singapore and Tokyo, attracting tens of thousands of fans and millions of TV viewers.
This coming week, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will visit no.7 Kyoji Horiguchi’s training gym in Japan. Johnson was enticed to visit Japan and learn more about the culture and tradition of martial arts following the two athletes’ championship clash a few weeks back. In addition to helping him grow as an athlete, the tour will also see Johnson and Horiguchi host an MMA training session for children at Krazy Bee gym.