UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez speaks during a news conference for UFC 205, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, in New York. UFC Fight Night in Calgary on July 28 has amends to make for UFC 149 at Scotiabank Saddledome in 2012. The main card almost six years ago was a dud due in large part to a perfect storm of injuries. Tickets go on sale Friday for the event featuring a rematch of former lightweight champion Alvarez and Dustin Poirer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Julie Jacobson

Alvarez, Poirier rematch the headliner of UFC’s return to Calgary

CALGARY — UFC Fight Night in Calgary has some amends to make for UFC 149.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the Scotiabank Saddledome on July 28 almost six years after injuries so decimated the main card that just one of 10 originally-billed fighters stepped into the Octagon.

While the undercard was entertaining, some main-card bouts drew boos. UFC commissioner Dana White’s assessment of his property’s debut in Alberta came with his trademark brutal honesty.

“UFC 149, we can count on one hand on how many shows have actually sucked,” White said that night in 2012. “Tonight is one more finger on the hand.”

It wasn’t a dud from a business standpoint with 16,089 attending and a gate of $4.1 million.

The UFC has since been back to Alberta with last September’s UFC 215 in Edmonton drawing 16,232. White wants the UFC’s next foray into the province to be a spectacle, especially as his 49th birthday coincides with the upcoming Calgary card.

“Dana has taken a very personal and emotional approach to this card,” UFC senior vice-president David Shaw said Wednesday.

“We’re very grateful for the support we’ve got all across Canada, but especially in Alberta because Calgary and Edmonton are both tier one markets for us in addition to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

“We have more fans per capita in Alberta than in any other province in Canada. It should not have been six years since we’ve been back to Calgary, but it has been.”

Tickets go on general sale Friday. Since it isn’t a pay-per-view event and will be carried on CTV 2, RDS 2 and FOX, tickets are cheaper than they were for UFC 149, ranging from $56 to $320 compared to $85-650.

The headliner is a rematch of former lightweight champion and world No. 3 Eddie Alvarez and No. 4 Dustin Poirier. Their bout a year ago in Dallas ended in a no-contest when Alvarez illegally kneed Poirier in the head.

Both fighters are angling for a shot at the title, currently held by undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov

For Alvarez (29-5 and one no-contest), this is his last fight on his current contract.

“I enjoy putting everything on the line. I do really well in those situations,” the 34-year-old said. “As I get older and I understand myself more and how I perform more, I am purposefully putting myself in those situations because I know how to respond.

“The winner of this fight is fighting for the world title next. That’s what on the line, but what’s always on the line is my skin and my name. My name and putting Dustin Poirier’s name in my resume. Another champion and formidable opponent conquered.”

Alvarez contends Poirier (23-5 and one no-contest) wanted to quit their last bout and that only one of three his knees to Poirier’s head was illegal.

“Anything he says I think he’s trying to save face or make himself feel better about what happened, but I’m just glad he signed again because we’ve been trying to get this rematch for over a year now,” said Poirier, 29.

“There’s a lot of big things riding on this fight for me. I believe one hundred per cent that a win over Eddie Alvarez at this point in my career puts me in line for the next shot at the world title.”

Brazil’s Jose Aldo versus Erik Koch was to be the premiere fight in Calgary in 2012 when Aldo was featherweight champ, but both men were too injured to battle.

Aldo, now No. 2 with a career 26-4 record, gets another chance in Calgary as the co-main bout with No. 4 Jeremy Stephens (28-14).

The top women’s fight features world No. 1 strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-2) and No. 5 Tecia Torres (10-2).

“The quality of those six athletes in those three fights are ranked in the top five,” Shaw said. “Each of those could be a main event on a standard fight night.”

Homegrown fighters on the undercard include Calgary’s Hakeem Dawodu (7-1-1) versus Austin Arnett (15-5), as well as Jordan Mein of Lethbridge, Alta., (30-12) taking on Alex Morono (14-4, one no-contest).

Just Posted

Cannabis facility proposed for Clearwater County

Cannabis production facility proposed south of Caroline would produce 30,000 kg of cannabis a year

Two Central Alberta country singers are finalists in career-launching contest

They will attend music industry ‘boot camp’ this summer

Transit changes to aid Burman University students

An additional evening trip and student bus passes to be in place by fall

WATCH: Province, Maskwacis Cree Nations sign educational agreement

Funding and support will help the First Nations develop a Cree-based curriculum

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates World Refugee Day

The Central Alberta Refugee Effort hosted multiple events around Red Deer Wednesday

New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

LAS VEGAS — Taylor Hall has won the Hart Trophy as the… Continue reading

Red Deer high school student psyched for SHAD

Lindsay Thurber’s Kaden Nivens will head to Newfoundland for the annual program in July

Red Deer College team tackles lack of Indigneous inclusion in research projects

A local college research team has completed a lengthy project examining the… Continue reading

Officials make case against parents accused of child abuse

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Prosecutors made their case Wednesday against a Southern California… Continue reading

Manitoba educational assistant sentenced to 3 1/5 years for sex with student

WINNIPEG — A former educational assistant in Winnipeg has been sentenced to… Continue reading

Conservatives can ‘win anywhere,’ Scheer says in welcoming Richard Martel

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer welcomed the newest member of his… Continue reading

Fans grieve as detectives search for XXXTentacion’s killers

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — For hours, the fans came in a steady… Continue reading

Canadian steel not a national security threat on its own: US commerce secretary

OTTAWA — The U.S. commerce secretary says Canada is not a national… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month