Global mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation UFC is targeting further growth in China after agreeing to take its first event to Shenzhen on August 31.

UFC Fight Night Shenzhen, which is being organised by Endeavor, formerly WME | IMG, will become the sport’s third consecutive event in mainland China since its sold-out inaugural event in Shanghai in November 2017.

The event, which will take place at the Universiade Sports Centre (pictured), could see Chinese star Weili Zhang, a top-10 ranked women’s strawweight, as the headliner, although this has not been confirmed. The UFC is believed to be targeting many of China’s top mixed martial artists for its roster.

UFC senior vice president Asia-Pacific, Kevin Chang, said: “We continue to add new cities in China to our global calendar of events, and we are excited to see the momentum that is steadily building.

“China is the most important growth market for UFC, and our ongoing success is a testament to the loyalty of our passionate fans, the on-going support from our partners, and the work we are doing to fast-track the development of UFC ready athletes in this region.”

The Asian country is a key market for UFC with its Performance Institute Shanghai set to open its doors in the Jing’An district in June, providing athletes the opportunity to train in a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility.

Michael Ma, Endeavor China chief executive, said: “Endeavor China is excited to once again bring UFC, the world’s premier professional MMA organisation, to Chinese audiences.

“After the great success of events in Shanghai and Beijing, we are happy to announce that this year’s UFC Fight Night event will take place in Shenzhen. MMA’s popularity is quickly rising in China, and we look forward to bringing our growing fanbase the best that UFC has to offer.”

Image: Stephen Woolverton