Nick Diaz and Tony Ferguson added to UFC Fight Night Abu Dhabi card

UFC CEO announces that the hugely popular MMA stars will fight separate opponents on August 3

Nick Diaz has not fought in the UFC since a TKO loss to Robbie Lawler in 2021. AP
Powered by automated translation

The new UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi this summer will see the return of the hugely popular Nick Diaz alongside fellow fan favourite Tony Ferguson.

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

UFC CEO Dana White announced a raft of bouts on Wednesday night for the August 3 at Etihad Arena, with former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo also featuring in a clash with bantamweight title challenger Marlon Vera.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed the card would be headlined by No 2-ranked bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen against the fast-rising unbeaten star Umar Nurmagomedov.

The addition of the Fight Night means Abu Dhabi will host two UFC events this year, with its traditional pay-per-view show falling in the final quarter, with UFC 308 on October 26.

In a video released on his social media channels on Wednesday, White announced four more bouts, with former title challenger Diaz facing Vicente Luque in a five-round co-main event, and former lightweight interim champion Ferguson taking on Michael Chiesa. Both fights will take place at welterweight.

The Abu Dhabi card will also Figueiredo against Vera at bantamweight and a women’s strawweight encounter between Mackenzie Dern and Loopy Godinez.

While there are a number of intriguing bouts, it is the inclusion of Diaz and Ferguson that will have piqued fans’ interest. Diaz, older brother of Nate Diaz, has not fought since his TKO defeat to Robbie Lawler in 2021, which was his first fight in six years. The 40-year-old American's last win came against BJ Penn in 2011. Diaz’s professional MMA record stands at 26-10 (two no contest).

Likewise, Luque is attempting to get back on track following a knockout defeat to Joaquin Buckley in March. The Brazilian is 22-10-1 as a pro. White described the match-up, scheduled for five rounds, as “certain to be an absolute war”.

Meanwhile, Ferguson will be aiming to use his Abu Dhabi debut to halt a seven-bout losing streak. The American, one of the most beloved athletes in the sport, last fought in December when he lost a unanimous decision to Paddy Pimblett.

Chiesa has not competed since his submission loss to Kevin Holland last July.

White said on Wednesday that the Abu Dhabi bout “could” represent the 40-year-old Ferguson’s final fight.

Elsewhere, Figueiredo will be out to continue his success after moving up to bantamweight against a game Vera. The two-time flyweight champion is two for two at 135 lbs, following his dominant decision win against Rob Font last December with a submission victory at last month’s UFC 300 against former bantamweight belt-holder Cody Garbrandt.

“Chito” Vera will represent a serious test, though, with the Ecuadorian determined to bounce back from his defeat to current champion Sean O’Malley in the main event at UFC 299 in March. A rematch of their 2020 fight, Vera remains the only man to beat O’Malley in the UFC.

Updated: May 30, 2024, 7:07 AM
Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.