The UFC's spring plans are quickly materializing, and the promotion today confirmed a trio of previously reported fight cards for the first quarter of 2013.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) first reported, UFC 157 takes place Feb. 23 at the 15,000-seat Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The promotion also confirmed a Feb. 16 event previously announced will serve as UFC on FUEL TV 7, though a venue for the fight card was not revealed. Additionally, officials revealed the March 3 event announced this past weekend will serve as UFC on FUEL TV 8.
The fight cards were confirmed on Tuesday's new edition of FUEL TV's "UFC Tonight."
The three fight cards take place on consecutive weekends, and the official announcement of the events now means the UFC has a run of six events in the seven weeks between "UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping" on Jan. 19 and UFC on FUEL TV 8 on March 3.
The UFC hasn't hosted an event in Anaheim since UFC on FOX 1 a year ago. The show marked the UFC's debut on network television. In the headliner, Junior Dos Santos took the UFC heavyweight title from then-champ Cain Velasquez with a 64-second TKO. (The fighters are set to rematch next month at UFC 155.)
Honda Center also hosted UFC 121 (Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar) in 2010, UFC 76 (Chuck Liddell vs. Keith Jardine) in 2007, UFC 63 (Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn II) in 2006, and UFC 59 (Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski II) in 2006.
Following this past Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 6 event in Macao, UFC Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UFC Asia Mark Fischer said the promotion will hold an event in Japan on March 3. The event will take place on a Sunday in Japan at Saitama Super Arena, just north of Tokyo, for a Saturday night broadcast in the United States.
The UFC earlier this year held UFC 144 in Japan with a main event lightweight title fight between then-champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Benson Henderson. Henderson took the belt, then defended it in the rematch this past August. Also on the card, Ryan Bader beat longtime Japan favorite Quinton "Rampage" Jackson by unanimous decision. The rest of the card was heavy with fighters from Asia.
UFC 144 was the promotion's first trip to Japan since UFC 29 in 2000, which was in the pre-Zuffa era.