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UFC 242: Khabib v Poirier to be broadcast free-to-air on Russian state 'First Channel'

UFC 242: Khabib v Poirier to be broadcast free-to-air on Russian state 'First Channel'
The much-anticipated UFC lightweight title showdown between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on September 7 will be available to Russian audiences free of charge on the state 'First Channel.'

The Russian champion's first title defense since last year's victory (and subsequent suspension) against Conor McGregor is already guaranteed to be one of the year's most-watched fights, but that potential audience has now expanded even further, as RT Sport learned that Russia-wide channel Pervy Kanal (First Channel) will broadcast the event free-to-air.

READ MORE: Why does this American MMA fighter wear Khabib’s famous papakha hat?

The channel claims a total global audience of around 250 million and is expected to draw a massive viewing audience given Nurmagomedov's huge popularity in his home country.

Previously UFC cards that featured Nurmagomedov were broadcast on Match TV, which is also free-to-air, but UFC 242 being aired on Pervy Kanal represents an entry into a much more diverse, mainstream audience than before.

Since the establishment of UFC Russia last year, UFC cards are aired in Russia via Cable Vision, which operates under a monthly subscription service.

Another benefit to the Russian audience will be the fact that only one hour's time difference between Abu Dhabi and Moscow will mean a far more palatable start time for the card, as most events taking place in the United States begin around 3am in Russia's capital city.

Also on rt.com ‘Land of Warriors’: Welcome to Dagestan (Episode 1)

A significant audience is expected to tune in to UFC 242 to see Nurmagomedov defend his title against the significant challenge that his opponent, Dustin Poirier, represents. That viewing figure could swell further if former champion Conor McGregor attends the event, as is rumored. 

READ MORE: ‘Send him location!’ Khabib says McGregor should go to jail for punching man in Dublin pub

It remains to be seen if legal issues which have arisen as a result of footage of an April incident in a bar in Dublin will prevent his attending, and the Dagestani champ issued a stark warning to the Irishman.

"It will be more difficult to leave Abu Dhabi than New York," Nurmagomedov said last month. "Abu Dhabi is no place for show-offs. Let him come if he plans to come, but his shenanigans won't work there."

Also on rt.com 'Abu Dhabi is no place for show-offs': Khabib sends McGregor warning about attending UFC 242