Mounir Lazzez is fighting at Yas Island
Mounir Lazzez is fighting at Yas Island Image Credit: USA TODAY

Following on from the action-packed opening night of UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, the promotion returns to the Flash Forum on Yas Island for UFC Fight Night 172 featuring maturing featherweights Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige in the main event.

In the midst of a global pandemic, which has virtually brought every major sports event to its knees, the UFC continues to stand tall delivering one spectacular event after another.

Kattar vs Ige is by all means the showpiece event, but a welterweight bout between Abdul Razak Alhassan and Mounir Lazzez could be the one Middle East fight fans will be looking forward to.

Abdul Razak Alhassan
Abdul Razak Alhassan Image Credit: USA TODAY

Tunisian-born Lazzez, who has been based in Dubai for close to 10 years, says he is excited about making his UFC debut in his ‘backyard’.

“I always thought that I would be fighting in America, but as things would have it with the global pandemic, here I am making my debut in a place that has been my home for a long time,” he said.

Lazzez (9-1-0) vs Ghana’s Alhassan (10-1-0) is the first fight on the main card and it has the potential to be an absolute firecracker between two aggressive strikers.

Both men will be looking to make a quick impression as they are competing in one of the UFC’s most stacked division which features the likes of recent winner Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal, Leon Edwards, Nate Diaz, Darren Till, Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley.

Lazzez has secured eight of his nine wins by KO/TKO with his most notable victories coming against Sasha Palatnikov, Christophe Van Dijck, Amir Fathee Wahman, Mohammad Ghorabi and Anas Siraj Mounir.

His most recent win came in February, where he finished Arber Murati in under a minute.

Alhassan enters the bout with a 10-1 record having posted wins over Charlie Ward, Sabah Homasi (x2), and most recently knocking out Niko Price in 2018. He has finished all of his wins by KO/TKO since starting his career in 2013.

With similar fighting styles one can expect both fighters to look for the early finish.

The 12-fight event also features rising prospects such as Jared Gordon, Ricardo Ramos, John Phillips, Jimmie Rivera, Tim Elliot, and Molly McCann.

The event is the first of two shows in Abu Dhabi this week, as Saturday’s event is headlined by the vacant flyweight championship between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figuiredo.

Ige (14-2, 6-1 in the UFC) has won six fights in a row and has earned a lot of respect from fight fans while Kattar (21-4, 5-2 UFC) is no slouch either.

“A win over Dan Ige puts me one step closer to ultimately becoming champion of the UFC in the featherweight division,” Kattar said. “That’s my goal, to bring that belt back home to Boston.”

Track record

Calvin Kattar

Win: Jeremy Stephens (TKO2, May 9)

Loss: Zabit Magomedsharipov (UD, Nov. )

Win: Ricardo Lamas (KO1, June 8, 2019)

Win: Chris Fishgold (TKO1, Oct. 27, 2018)

Loss: Renato Moicano (UD, April 7, 2018)

Dan Ige

Win: Edson Barboza (SD, May 16)

Win: Mirsad Bektic (SD, Feb. 8)

Win: Kevin Aguilar (UD, June 22, 2019)

Win: Danny Henry (SUB1, March 16, 2019)

Win: Jordan Griffin (UD, Dec. 15, 2018)

Fight Night card

Main Card (6am UAE)

Men’s featherweight: Calvin Kattar v Dan Ige

Men’s flyweight: Tim Elliott v Ryan Benoit

Men’s featherweight: Jimmie Rivera v Cody Stamann

Women’s flyweight: Molly McCann v Taila Santos

Men’s welterweight: Abdul Razak Alhassan v Mounir Lazzez

Prelims (2am UAE)

Men’s middleweight: John Phillips v Khamzat Chimaev

Men’s featherweight: Ricardo Ramos v Lerone Murphy

Light heavyweight: Modestas Bukauskas v Andreas Michailidis

Men’s featherweight: Chris Fishgold v Jared Gordon

Women’s flyweight: Diana Belbita v Liana Jojua

Men’s bantamweight: Jack Shore v Aaron Phillips