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4 Jun, 2019 17:15

OFFICIAL: Khabib Nurmagomedov to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi

OFFICIAL: Khabib Nurmagomedov to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi

Reigning UFC lightweight world champion will battle interim champ Dustin Poirier in a title unification bout at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on September 7, it has been officially announced on Tuesday.

The match-up had been firmly on the cards since Poirier defeated featherweight king Max Holloway in April to clinch the lightweight interim title, putting himself at the front of the line to meet Nurmagomedov. 

The Russian himself said that the fight would happen in Abu Dhabi in September - an event the UFC confirmed, albeit minus a main event, at the end of April.

READ MORE: UFC confirms Abu Dhabi event as news of Khabib return appears imminent

But the promotion has now officially announced that Nurmagomedov versus Poirier will be at the top of the bill in the UAE on September 7. 

The event marks the long-awaited return of Nurmagomedov, who was suspended for instigating the post-fight melee that followed his fourth-round submission victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas.

Nurmagomedov sparked the incident when he leapt over the octagon fence to confront McGregor teammate and Bellator MMA athlete Dillon Danis, and led to 'The Eagle' being handed a nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

But now Nurmagomedov is back, and ready to put his undisputed world title on the line against Poirier, who has defeated four champions in his last four bouts.

Poirier's most recent outing saw him defeat UFC featherweight champion Holloway to capture the interim belt at UFC 236 in Atlanta to set up the bout with Nurmagomedov, who praised the American for his title-winning performance.

"Dustin has impressed me," he admitted.

"I think he has very good boxing, much better than before. Every fight he becomes stronger, better in boxing on his feet.

"I think he deserves a title shot. He already interim UFC lightweight champion, I am real lightweight champion. We have to fight."

Also on rt.com 'I have to maul this guy': Khabib Nurmagomedov says he's ready to battle Dustin Poirier in September

Now the pair are scheduled to do battle for the unified world title in the main event in Abu Dhabi, as the UFC makes its third visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Their first show saw Anderson Silva defeat Demian Maia in a forgettable matchup in April 2010 at UFC 112, and the UFC returned to Yas Island four years later for UFC Fight Night, featuring heavyweights Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson as the headline bout of an eight-fight card.

Now the octagon is set to return again on September 7, with Nurmagomedov and Poirier at the top of the card.

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