THE second coming of the UFC to the Philippines could feature the comeback of Hall of Famer BJ Penn.
A report by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting bared the UFC is targeting the former lightweight and welterweight champ to headline Fight Night 97 against former featherweight title contender Ricardo Lamas at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 15. Penn will reportedly meet Lamas in a featherweight bout.
Penn also posted the report on his Twitter account.
Penn has not returned to the octagon since his loss to Frankie Edgar in July 2014. But despite being inducted into the Hall of Fame a year later, he has indicated that he’s not done fighting yet and announced his plans to return in January of this year.
Yet his comeback was delayed, most notably by a six-month suspension after Penn admitted an IV infusion in violation of Usada rules last March. With the ban ending on September 25, Penn is fully cleared to make his long-awaited return to the cage against former number 1 contender Lamas.
Lamas has gone 3-2 since losing a featherweight title bout against then-champ Jose Aldo in UFC 169. In his most recent fight at UFC 199, he bowed to Max Holloway via unanimous decision.
If the planned headliner pushes through, it gives an explosive sequel to the first UFC fight card held in Manila in May 2015 headlined by Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, as both Penn and Lamas have more than enough motivation to win and put on a great fight.
Meanwhile, the UFC and SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc announced that early bird tickets for the UFC Fight Night 97 in Manila have been available since August 10, and fight fans can avail of the early bird discount rate of 10% on selected seats for ticket purchases until August 16.
Tickets for the UFC Fight Night Manila card are available at all SM Tickets outlets or through www.smtickets.com. Official ticket prices and the fight card have remained unannounced but fans can get special pre-sale access and more at www.ufc.com/manila.