The major leagues of mixed martial arts is joining the list of events this fall that will inaugurate Sacramento’s new downtown arena.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced Friday a Dec. 17 card at Golden 1 Center that will be broadcast on Fox. No fighters have been named, but UFC officials said the card likely will feature one or more regulars from the strong local lineup of contenders.
“The city has an incredible new arena to go along with some of the most passionate fight fans in the world,” UFC vice president Dave Sholler said in a prepared statement.
“Golden 1 Center continues to grab the attention of world-class performers, events, acts and shows,” Kings president Chris Granger said. “We’re thrilled to bring a high-energy UFC event back to Sacramento and showcase our city on the national stage.
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The timing of the fight could line up nicely for Stockton’s Nate Diaz, who is taking on Conor McGregor in a highly-anticipated welterweight rematch Saturday in Las Vegas. Diaz defeated McGregor in March by a submission after accepting the fight on only 11 days notice. McGregor went into that match as one of the biggest box-office draws in the sport. Despite his loss five months ago, McGregor is a slight favorite over Diaz.
Another possible fighter from Sacramento for the Dec. 17 card could be bantamweight contender Cody Garbrandt, who also is on the UFC 202 card, fighting Takeya Mizukagi of Japan. Garbrandt trains with Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male at Faber’s Ultimate Fitness gym in midtown, and he could be ready for another match in four months.
Faber, who lost a bantamweight title bout in June to Dominic Cruz, also could be ready to go again in December.
Golden 1 Center is scheduled to open Oct. 4 with the first night of consecutive concerts by Paul McCartney. Along with Kings games, other events scheduled for the new arena this fall include a WWE event, concerts by Jimmy Buffett and Maroon 5, Disney on Ice and Cirque du Soleil.