Sandhagen, Nurmagomedov headline Abu Dhabi

The UFC has rebooked a bantamweight matchup between Cory Sandhagen and Umar Nurmagomedov for its next trip to Abu Dhabi.

The 135-pound bout will headline UFC Fight Night on Aug. 3 inside Etihad Arena, the promotion announced on Monday. The bout was booked almost exactly one year ago in Nashville, however Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw due to injury. Both men have picked up a victory since that initial booking.

Sandhagen (17-4) is knocking on the door of a title shot, having won his last three. Fighting out of Colorado, Sandhagen fought for an interim championship in 2021, but came up short against Petr Yan via decision. Sandhagen’s only losses in the UFC have come against former champions in Yan, TJ Dillashaw and Aljamain Sterling.

Nurmagomedov (17-0) is one of the top rising prospects in all of mixed martial arts. The 28-year-old’s cousin is retired UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov. Umar is 5-0 in the UFC with three finishes. He returned from a shoulder injury in March in a decision win against previously unbeaten Bekzat Almakhan (11-1).

Sandhagen and Nurmagomedov are the UFC’s Nos. 2 and 9-ranked bantamweights, respectively.

The UFC has made an annual trip to Abu Dhabi since 2019 and relied heavily on the region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several members of Nurmagomedov’s team have headlined events there, including Khabib and current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

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