In the early hours of Sunday morning, Conor McGregor will return to the octagon after a two-year absence.
The 30-year-old’s comeback in a lightweight title fight against Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov is part of UFC 229 in Las Vegas.
The event is a pretty big deal in the mixed martial arts sporting calendar, with the hotly anticipated fight set to be one of the biggest in UFC history.
So, whether you’re an expert or a novice, here are seven things you need to know before fight night.
What time is the fight on?
Set your alarms. The preliminary fights are set to get under way at 22:30 BST on Saturday night, with the main card kicking off at 03:00 BST.
McGregor is anticipated to walk to the octagon at about 05:30 BST.
It might seem like a late night, but we reckon you’ll be all set if you take a tactical nap in between Strictly Come Dancing and the start of the preliminary fights.
Saturday nights are made for a bit of salsa and UFC, right?
Why is he fighting in Vegas?
Before his 693-day layoff, the longest of his career, McGregor was both the lightweight and featherweight champion of the UFC.
During his time off, McGregor fought in one of the richest boxing matches in history against Floyd Mayweather, and was stopped by the former five-weight world champion in the 10th round.
McGregor’s bout against ‘The Eagle’ sees the Irish fighter return to the same stage; the T-Mobile Arena in glitzy Las Vegas.
Who is his opponent?
Nurmagomedov will be McGregor’s first UFC opponent since November 2016 when he beat Eddie Alvarez to add the lightweight belt to his featherweight title.
He was later stripped of both titles because of inactivity, with Nurmagomedov being installed as lightweight champion earlier this year.
The Russian has won all 26 of his fights, eight of which came by KO and eight by submission.
McGregor, meanwhile, has 21 wins from 24 fights, with 18 from KO, and has three defeats to his name.
How much is the fight worth?
Mayweather v McGregor generated more than £450m in global revenues, including ticket sales, sponsorship and international distribution.
And more than two million people in North America alone are expected to pay upwards of $70 (£54) to watch this weekend’s contest, smashing the previous record, set at UFC 202 in August 2016 when McGregor’s rematch against Nate Diaz drew 1.65m pay-per-view buys.
“It’s a tasty, tasty, record-breaking deal,” McGregor told the Ariel Helwani MMA Show.
“It’s give or take [nine figures]. The Mayweather fight was nine figures but we’re almost there, it’s a good, solid eight figures.”
What will it do for the sport?
Nurmagomedov is defending his UFC lightweight title – the belt ‘The Notorious’ once held.
At Thursday’s news conference, Nurmagomedov described himself as “the Floyd Mayweather of MMA”.
The fight will once again bring the world of UFC and MMA to the forefront of the sports world, and pretty much everybody is going to be talking about it.
What are McGregor’s chances of winning?
With a run of 26 straight wins, Khabib is probably the toughest opponent McGregor could have hoped for on his return to the limelight.
The Russian should start as favourite, but the Irishman’s popularity means his odds are likely to be far shorter than they should be after two years out of the octagon.
And, if he is to win, McGregor must do what he has failed to do before – defeat an unbeaten champion.
McGregor’s return isn’t the only headline news from the evening; a second main event sees Tony Ferguson lock horns with former lightweight king Anthony Pettis.
The winner of that fight could potentially face the victor from the McGregor/Khabib clash – so keep your eyes peeled for what could be the main event on the next big fight night.
Source BBC News