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UFC Targeting February 26 for Japan Return

(We know one thing: some female Japanese reporters are getting dry-humped by Rampage come February 26.)

When Zuffa effectively killed PRIDE soon after purchasing the Japanese promotion back in 2007 for a reported $64-million US, when UFC president Dana White stated it was just impossible to deal with the Yakuza, it seemed unlikely that we would ever see the Octagon in the Land of the Rising Sun again.

Well, it looks like dealing with the Yakuza in 2011 is a lot easier than it was four years ago.

According to MMAWeekly, the UFC is close to finalizing a date and location for its first Japanese show since 2000, and the first under the Zuffa banner since Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the company from SEG in January 2001. The date for the planned show would be February 26 and the planned venue is the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama — the arena that housed 24 of PRIDE’s 68 events.

The venue has been booked by agencies working with Zuffa in Japan, which doesn’t necessarily mean the locale is final (the UFC has booked both Rogers Centre in Toronto and Bell Centre in Montreal for this December), it’s the company’s number one choice.

During last week’s pre-fight press conference for UFC 132, White hinted that the move into Japan would be happening soon.

“The rumor is true, we’re going to come to Japan and probably very soon,” White told reporters.

The report goes on to state that the UFC’s executive vice president Mark Fischer, who was hired in 2010 to champion Zuffa’s Asian resurgence, is currently working to finalize a date and venue for the planned event in Japan and he has spoken with a number of Japanese promoters to solicit their advice on putting on shows there. It’s unclear, although unlikely given the UFC’s stance on co-promotion, whether or not Zuffa plans to work with another promoter on the show.

Although no names have been mentioned for the card since it’s more than seven months away, it’s likely that we’ll see a number of former PRIDE stars like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and the Nogueira brothers on the card alongside Japanese standouts like Yushin Okami and Yoshihiro Akiyama. We may even see the UFC pick up Shinya Aoki by then to round out its lightweight roster.

Cagepotato Comments

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Abe Froeman- July 6, 2011 at 3:19 am
Dude..I live in Tokyo. The Power plant issue will not be a factor, trust me. That arena is the shit..I saw the Dream/K-1 show there on New Years eve.
DirtehSneakehs- July 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm
This is great, it'll be a real treat to see the old Pride fighters back in that arena as well as some local up and coming fighters.
And I agree, that would be the best place to have Fedor fight for the first time in the Octagon... against Frank Mir... Or Schaub. Just dear god not Roy Nelson.
D-man420- July 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm
Has anyone taken in that the power plant at Fukushima in Japan blew up not to long ago i do not think anyone will be at this event it does not make sense. What could make sense is Japan being like yo we need a card going on over here so people think everything is ok. Stuff in Japan is fucked and i have no idea how they have this in Japan.
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AussieJosh- July 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm
Australia has had the UFC the last two Febuarys. I really hope Japan does not take our yearly event away from us!? Alough we have made record Areana sell outs and merch sales....I just hope we dont have to wait past Feb for the next one.
BoJimbo Spice- July 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm
I'd like to see bj @155 against aoki.
WK- July 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm
Big Nog and Fedor need to be fighting on this card.
Not necessarily against each other.
flyingogoplata- July 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm
Great place to have Fedor fight his first UFC fight
Johnny- July 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm
Bring Genki Sudo out of retirement.