UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov takes over promoter duties when his Eagle Fighting Championship (EFC), together with the UAE Warriors, present a 15-fight card at the Zayed Sports City’s Jiu-Jitsu Arena on Friday.
The UAE Warriors 15 card – that commemorates the UFC champion’s father and long-time coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov – is headlined by the lightweight title bout between Brazilian Bruno Machado and Mickael Lebout of France.
Fouad Darwish, general manager of Palms Sports who manage the UAE Warriors, is confident the partnership between his organisation and Khabib’s EFC can flourish.
“I doubt it’s going to be a one-time thing,” he said during virtual pre-fight conference on Wednesday. “Our relationship with Khabib began many years back and we foresee a very prosperous future with him and his organisation.
“We are also always open to any other organisation, but again, Khabib is a big brother for us in MMA and he has been supporting us all the time.
“We have so much gratitude to his continued support and we hope, we aspire and we will do all we can to make this wonderful relationship grow better. Definitely, it’s not a one-time thing between the two organisations.”
On the action front, the Abu Dhabi based Machado, 34, arrives in the octagon undefeated in four UAE Warriors appearances.
“My opponent has a lot of experience and I’m really looking forward meeting a guy with that kind of experience,” the Brazilian with a 14-9 win/loss record, said.
Khabib watches UAE Warriors in Dubai
“I have been training hard myself. I always go hard at my opponents. I want to face tougher opponents to test myself. I consider Abu Dhabi as my home and want to maintain my winning streak here.
“It is hard for me to say how the fight pans out. For me, a fight is a fight and I’m ready for whatever happens in the octagon. If my opponent want to stand up and fight, I’m ready for that. If he wants to fight on the ground, I am ready for that too.”
Lebout, 33, is making his Warriors debut. He holds a 20-10 win/loss record with two draws. I am delighted to appear in Abu Dhabi for the first time because it’s now a city fast making a name as the MMA capital,” the Frenchman said.
“We will have the eyes of the MMA world on this event. I have always fought all my opponents abroad and this is another one of them.
“Bruno is a champion of this organisation but he’s meeting someone far more experienced than him. Obviously I want to win and make a statement that I have arrived in this organisation.”