The UFC will make its first ever trip to Istanbul on November 22nd which will complete six fights in 2014 for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
Earlier today Garry Cook, the region's executive vice president, confirmed the organisation would be taking cards to Berlin and Dublin in May and July, following a return to Abu Dhabi in April.
But in a private conversation with Fighters Only he has also just confirmed that the UFC will also head back to Stockholm on October 4th before closing the year out with their first trip to Turkey.
“It's exciting times ahead,” Cook stated. “We've got a busy year planned and we are so excited about every event, starting this weekend. And what a way to finish the year: Istanbul will be terrific.”
November was already earmarked as a big month for the UFC, with the TUF Latin America Finale planned for Mexico City. And now with Turkey set to host it's first fight card as well, fans on both sides of the Atlantic will be celebrating.
Flyweight Alptekin Ozkilic is presently the only Turkish fighter competing under the UFC banner, and despite a fight scheduled for the Abu Dhabi card, 'The Turkish Delight' would naturally be a great fit for the November event – especially considering his strong viral following of Turkish MMA fans.
Another fighter who will have taken note of today's EMEA fight card announcements is Conor McGregor, who you can be sure will have set himself a target of being ready to return to action on the Dublin card planned for July 19th.
However, Cook insists the featherweight – presently rehabbing following surgery for a torn ACL – won't be put under any pressure to feature. “That card will sell regardless of Conor featuring on it or not, that's for sure,” he adds. “The talent pool in Ireland and the fanbase are just incredible.
“Of course, if Conor is fit then it would make sense, but he's under absolutely no pressure to return in time for the Dublin event. The most important thing for Conor is to get back to being 100% fit and continuing his incredible rise through the UFC rankings.”
UFC EMEA 2014 SCHEDULE
London, UK – March 8th
Abu Dhabi, UAE – April 11th
Berlin, Germany – May 31st
Dublin, Ireland – July 19th
Stockholm, Sweden – October 4th
Istanbul, Turkey – November 22nd