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UFC's UK Chief Says More European Events on Horizon

The UFC continues to find increasing success in Europe, and on Wednesday, the promotion's UK president, Marshall Zelaznik, said all signs point toward even more events in England next year.

Saturday's UFC 120 event has received a mixed reaction from fans. But Zelaznik confirmed at Wednesday's press conference in London that the card is the largest grossing event for the promotion in the UK and will set a new UFC European attendance mark.

Couple the strong sales for the event with the promotion's first UK Fan Expo, taking place Friday and Saturday in conjunction with the fight card, which Zelaznik said is outpacing the UFC 100 Fan Expo in terms of ticket sales, and his optimism is understandable.

"I don't think we ever had a doubt this would be a successful event," Zelaznik said. "So it's not as if I stand here saying we overcame something, because we were optimistic that this would do well from the outset. But seeing how ticket sales went, seeing how the expo has gone, I can tell you that we're very proud as a group with what's happening here in the UK. Our TV partners are ecstatic with how things are going here. So this is just a testament to the growth of the sport and the success of the UFC."

UFC 120 is the promotion's first event in Europe since UFC 105 last November in Manchester, England. That event set the company's European attendance mark with 16,693 fans.

The UFC's major expansion into Europe started with UFC 70 in Manchester in April 2007. Before that, it had been nearly five years since the promotion held an event outside the United States. The UFC brought three events to Europe in 2007, three in 2008 and four in 2009, including its first in Germany – but just one so far in 2010. (A second trip to Germany will happen next month for UFC 122.)

Zelaznik said 2011 should bring a resurgence in presence from the promotion – including the possibility for shows in areas like Liverpool and Nottingham, home of co-main event fighter Dan Hardy.

"It's really Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta's) desire to hold more events here," Zelaznik said. "This is our first in 11 months – it's been far too long. So we're trying to figure out a business model that makes sense to bring more regular events here. We're trying to put all those pieces together now. But Dana and Lorenzo are committed to try to make that happen here. Hopefully within the next few months, we'll have some big announcements about that."

UFC 120 takes place Saturday at the O2 Arena outside of London. It will be the promotion's fifth event in London and fourth at the O2. The UFC has also held events in England in Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle, and in Ireland in Belfast and Dublin. Apart from Las Vegas, only Atlantic City has hosted more UFC events than London.

The card is headlined by a middleweight bout between England's Michael Bisping and Yoshihiro Akiyama. Hardy fights for the first time since falling to Georges St-Pierre in a welterweight title fight at UFC 111 when he takes on Carlos Condit in the co-main event. And fast-rising British welterweight John Hathaway fights for his home fans against Mike Pyle.

UFC 120 airs via tape delay at 8 p.m. Eastern on Spike TV.

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