A file picture of Anthony Smith on the usual 30-feet octagon. The fights at Las Vegas on Saturday-Sunday will be on 25-feet octagons, which is expected to see a greater percentage of strikes. Image Credit: UFC

Dubai: MMA fans can look forward to a lot more explosive action and even more knockouts when UFC on ESPN 9 takes place at the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, May 30.

The reason: the event will be held inside a 25-foot Octagon as opposed to the popular 30-foot arena used at most UFC competitions.

The UFC have confirmed that all APEX events will be contested in the smaller Octagon.

The standard octagon has a diameter of 30 ft (9.1 m) with a 6 ft (1.8 m) high fence. The cage sits atop a platform, 4 ft (1.2 m) from the ground, almost similar to that of a boxing ring.

In a smaller Octagon, fighters are known to throw 20-percent more strikes than in the bigger version and as a result, there will be a lot more action in both the 15-mintue and 25-minture, main event contests.

The first UFC event to take place at the APEX will be the 11-event ESPN 9 card headlined by the Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns welterweight contest.

John McCarthy, one of the most senior referees in the UFC, explained the differences size makes in caged events.

“The UFC prefers the smaller 25ft cage because they feel it creates more action. Fighters tend to like the 30ft cage because of the space. 25 ft cage came from WEC days and Joe Silva loved it. It’s just preference,” he said on twitter.

The smaller cage size forces opponents to engage more as there is less space to manouvere, which results in a higher rate of strikes and finishes.

Meanwhile, Kevin Holland, who was set to return to the Octagon after just 14 fdays, was removed from this Saturday’s card due to a shoulder injury.

Holland was not given medical clearance after he sustained an injury in training. Holland was scheduled to drop to welterweight to face Daniel Rodriguez.

Holland last fought at UFC’s Fight Night: Glover Iiexiera vs Anthony Smith fight card on May 16 at Jacksonville, Tennesse on May 16 where he scored a stunning 39-second TKO of Anthony Hernandez. T

Should Holland have fought on Saturday it would have been the quickest turnaround of his career and one of the quickest in UFC history.

UFC ESPN 9 – Full Fight Card

Main Card (5 am UAE, Sunday)

Welterweight: Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns

Heavyweight: Blagoy Ivanov vs. Augusto Sakai

Welterweight: Kevin Holland vs. Daniel Rodriguez

Lightweight: Roosevelt Roberts vs. Brok Weaver

Strawweight: Mackenzie Dern vs. Hannah Cifers

Preliminaries (2am UAE, Sunday)

Flyweight: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Antonina Shevchenko

Catchweight (150 pounds): Billy Quarantillo vs. Spike Carlyle

Light Heavyweight: Jamahal Hill vs. Klidson Abreu

Flyweight: Tim Elliott vs. Brandon Royval

Bantamweight: Louis Smolka vs. Casey Kenney

Featherweight: Chris Gutierrez vs. Vince Morales