Two in form featherweights have been added to the UFC roster and are set to face off at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on Jan. 4. American Will Chope (19-5) will put his 14-fight winning streak on the line when he takes on unbeaten Russian Bekbulat Magomedov (11-0).
The fight has not been confirmed by UFC officials, but was revealed by Fight Sport Asia. Magomedov had been pencilled in to take on undefeated Chinese 145-pounder Wang Guan at Ruff 11 on Nov. 30, but has apparently opted to make his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 34 instead.
Chope has a reputation for being one of the busiest fighters in Southeast Asia and regularly competes in kickboxing, Muay Thai, and boxing. He took 10 MMA fights in 2012 and has fought five times so far this year.
The big criticism of Chope, who stands at an incredible six-foot-four, has always been that he does not face top fighters. He answered his detractors emphatically at PXC 40 last month with a third-round TKO win over Japanese veteran Takumi Nakayama.
Attempting to deal with Chope’s height and reach at UFC Fight Night 34 will be Magomedov, who has fought seven times so far this year. He has only been the distance once in his career, but has never fought outside of the Former Soviet Union before.
At one time or another Chope has been based at camps in Baguio, Bangkok, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur and Taiwan, and is a very well known face on the Asian MMA scene. He will be the tallest fighter to have ever competed in the UFC featherweight division.
UFC Fight Night 34 will be the promotion’s first ever card in Singapore and is headlined by a welterweight match-up between Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffiedine with recent Japanese signings Katsunori Kikuno, Shunichi Shimizu, Kiichi Kunimoto and Tatsuya Kawajiri set to debut.
Other fighters being linked with a UFC debut at the Marina Bay Sands on Jan. 4 include Singaporean bantamweight Royston Wee (2-0), Filipino bantamweight Dave Galera (5-0) and Filipino flyweight Roldan Sangcha-an (4-0), although nothing has been confirmed at the time of publication.
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