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Israel Adesanya vs Khamzat Chimaev: Dana White Releases Statement on Saudi Arabia Fight Leak Controversy

Published 02/20/2024, 2:56 PM EST

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The UFC is holding its first card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this June. While the UFC was originally scheduled to make its Saudi debut in March, it was rescheduled with reports suggesting the kingdom’s officials were unhappy with the level of talent on the Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Shamil Gaziev Fight Night card.

UFC CEO Dana White vehemently denied these reports and claimed he had decided to postpone the card as he wanted it to be the “greatest Fight Night card ever”. A purported advertisement for the upcoming card on the venue’s website has revealed that the UFC boss may have come through on his promise.

Are the rumors around an Israel Adesanya vs. Khamzat Chimaev bout true?

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MMA outlet ‘Fullsend MMA’, posted pictures of the Kingdom Arena, which will host the historic Fight Night card. The website shows the event being headlined by a bout between former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and fan-favorite phenom Khamzat Chimaev. “Israel Adesanya vs. Khamzat Chimaev is being advertised for June 23 on the official Kingdom Arena website in Saudi Arabia,” they wrote as a caption. However, the post was removed minutes later.

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While the poster is real and does appear on what looks like Kingdom Arena’s official website, there are strong indications that it is a fake website. Plus, the spelling error on Israel Adesanya’s name is a dead giveaway about the website’s lack of veracity.

In addition, this would be a huge announcement that the UFC would want to keep under wraps and would not allow on the website of the venue, whose official ticketing partner is not even offering tickets for the June card yet.

In an update since this story has been published, UFC CEO Dana White has come out with a strongly worded denial of a potential bout between the two in an Instagram Story on his account. “Not happening. It was a fake post. All the MMA Media that ran with it are the problem. Absolute CLOWNS,” he wrote on a background of Adesanya and Chimaev facing each other. However, just because it may not be true at the moment, doesn’t mean this may not be true in the future as stars are seemingly aligning for a potential Adesanya-Chimaev bout in the near future.

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Chimaev-Adesanya makes a lot of sense for Saudi Fight Night card

The prospects of Chimaev headlining a possible Saudi Arabia card against Israel Adesanya are not as remote. In a recent interview, where he confirmed he would not be fighting on UFC 300 as it comes days after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ‘Borz’ did express interest in fighting in the upcoming Saudi Arabia card.

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And Israel Adesanya, currently on hiatus, would be a perfect opponent for ‘Borz’. Not to mention this would the perfect fight for ‘Izzy’ to make his comeback given the buzz and anticipation a potential Chimaev bout will bring. The former middleweight champion has also expressed interest in fighting the Emirati citizen, as has Chimaev in fighting Adesanya. Although it is sill a long shot, if the bout does happen, the card will definitely be the biggest Fight Night Card in UFC history so far.

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Written by:

Kanishk Thakur

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Kanishk Thakur is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports with nearly 5 years of professional writing experience. Kanishk has expertly covered the heated rivalries of the fight game, and delivered meticulous reports of payouts of PPV events and Fight Nights, in addition to covering the personal side of fighters outside the sport. He is also an ardent Joe Rogan fan, who hopes to draw in more fans to the sport as Rogan did for him.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal