The UFC is returning to Canada.
The mixed martial arts promoter said UFC 289 will take place June 10 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement Friday in a social media video.
“So everybody’s been asking me: ‘When are you coming back to Canada? When are you coming back to Canada?’” said White. “UFC 289, June 10th, Vancouver, Rogers Arena. See you soon, Canada.”
The UFC’s last event in Canada was Sept. 14, 2019, before the pandemic, at the same Vancouver venue. Justin (The Highlight) Gaethje stopped fellow American Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone in the first round in the main event before an announced crowd of 15,114.
Brazil’s Amanda (Lioness) Nunes will defend her (135-pound) bantamweight title against American Julianna (The Venezuelan Vixen) Pena, the No. 1 contender, in the main event. It will be their third meeting with Nunes losing the title at UFC 269 in December 2021 and regaining it at UFC 277 last July.
Nunes also holds the UFC (145-pound) featherweight title.
The return to Canada is good news for the 15 Canadians among the UFC active roster of some 600 fighters, with the UFC looking to draw ticket-buyers by showcasing homegrown talent on the card.
“Yessssssss,” (Proper) Mike Malott, a welterweight from Burlington, Ont., wrote in response to White’s video.
Canadians Diana (Warrior Princess) Belbita, Marc-Andre (Power Bar) Barriault, (Mean) Hakeem Dawodu, Jasmine Jasudavicius, John (The Bull) Makdessi, Kyle (The Monster) Nelson and Aiemann Zahabi have all been linked to the UFC 289 card.
A bout between American Stephen (Wonderboy) Thompson, ranked seventh among welterweight contenders, and No. 15 Michel (Demolidor) Pereira has also been mentioned.
The UFC has held 31 cards in Canada, debuting in April 2008 with UFC 83 in Montreal. The shows have taken place in 11 cities and featured 19 world championship bouts.
Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Moncton, Ottawa, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Toronto and Winnipeg have also hosted UFC shows.
– Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press