The Ultimate Fighting Championship has confirmed two new European events for 2016 after it was announced debut shows will take place in Zagreb, Croatia, and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
UFC Europe revealed the two newly scheduled events on Friday via its official Twitter account, complete with information on how to register for tickets:
According to the Sun's Simon Head, UFC Fight Night Zagreb is scheduled to take place at the Zagreb Arena on Sunday April 10, while UFC Fight Night Rotterdam will take place at the Ahoy Rotterdam on Sunday May 8.
Before those shows, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva makes his return to the Octagon against Briton Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 83 in London next month.
The European expansion illustrates how the Ultimate Fighting Championship is swiftly growing its reach across the globe, and no longer is the mixed martial arts promotion restricted to just America and Asia.
UFC heavyweight contender Stipe Miocic was born in Ohio to Croatian parents and admitted his desire to play a role in the Zagreb event, per Head's report:
It would be a dream if I was able to fight in Croatia, I travelled there for the first time in 2015 to train with Mirko Cro Cop and it was a great experience just to see the country and spend some time there with my family.
I don’t know what the UFC has in store for me now but I’ll definitely be back in Croatia one way or another.
It hasn't even been a year since the UFC made it's debut in Krakow, Poland, last April, but the organisation is making quick strides to impose itself as the world's foremost mixed martial arts brand.
Like Miocic, Dutchman Stefan Struve, who also fights in the heavyweight division, stated he'd love to be a part of the Rotterdam show:
"I got goosebumps when I was told the UFC is finally coming our way, I’m thrilled it’s finally going to happen. No matter what I want to fight on this card, at this point in my career this is what I need to fight in front of my friends and family and deliver a show like I can."
The double announcement reinforces the meteoric rise of combat sports, and the UFC will hope its expansion inspires a new wave of European fighters.