After obsessing with the likes of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, India fans are all set to get their own Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) star as Maharashtra-based fighter, Bharat Khandare is set to make his UFC debut in Shanghai today, November 25.
While Canada-based Arjan Singh Bhullar became the first Indian-origin Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter at the prestigious MMA promotion brand, Bharat, who has been training at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy in the USA for the last 18 months, is expected to have a greater connect with the fans in the country.
The 28-year-old, who has a 5-2 record in MMA, will take on China's Song Yadong in the preliminary card featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 122, which will be headlined by main event bout between former champion Michael Bisping and Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum.
Bharat, who was the featherweight champion in Super Fight League (SFL) India, was supposed to fight seasoned campaigner Liu Pingyuan. However, he will now take on 19-year-old Yadong after the latter pulled out last week.
The young fighter took to professional fighting at the age of 16 and has already faced 15 opponents in his three-year career. Song has also been part of ONE FC shows in the past and thus will head into the octagon with a lot of confidence.
Bharat though will start as the favourite after having had top-quality training in the USA. However, he has not had actual match practice in the last 18 months and is also heading into the bout on the back of a defeat.
When is the bout and how to watch it live
The lightweight preliminary card bout between Bharat Khandare and Pingyuan Liu will not start before 4am ET, 2:30pm IST, 9am GMT.
India: TV: Sony ESPN
Global live streaming: UFC Fight Pass
Complete Fight Card - UFC Fight Night 122
- Michael Bisping vs Kelvin Gastelum
- Li Jingliang vs Zak Ottow
- Alex Caceres vs Wang Guan
- Alex Garcia vs Muslim Salikhov
- Zabit Magomed Sharipov vs Sheymon Moraes
- Bobby Nash vs Kenan Song
- Kailin Curran vs Xiaonan Yan
- Bharat Khandare vs Pingyuan Liu
- Shamil Abdurakhimov vs Chase Sherman
- Gina Mazany vs Yanan Wu
- Wuliji Buren vs Rolando Dy
- Cyril Asker vs Hu Yaozong