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UFC to make first visit to Philippines as May event announced for Manila

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It's been in the works for the last couple of years, but the UFC is finally headed to the Republic of the Philippines. Combat Press first reported that the Octagon would make its inaugural visit to Manila on Monday, and on Wednesday the UFC made it official.

The UFC has had multiple shows in Asian ports such as Macau, Singapore and Japan, and had long been looking to bring an event to the Philippines.

The Fight Night is scheduled to take place on May 16 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. With the time difference, it will air live in North America on May 15.

"We are thrilled to be kicking off our Asia event calendar in Manila this year," the Executive Vice President and General Manager, UFC Asia, Ken Berger, said in a press release. "The UFC has a loyal and passionate fan base in the Philippines and we’re looking forward to bringing the very best of mixed martial arts (MMA) to Manila for the first time. We have found a great event partner in SM Lifestyle Entertainment inc. and are excited that the SM Mall of Asia Arena will be home to a historic UFC event that fans will remember for years to come."

The UFC has several Filipino fighters on its current roster, most notably middleweight Mark Munoz, who goes by a nickname of "The Filipino Wrecking Machine." Munoz has long been an advocate of bringing the UFC to Manila, and has been involved in relief efforts for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the country in 2013.

Other fighters on the UFC's roster with Filipino roots are Eddie Yagin, Roland Sangcha-an, Chris Cariaso and flyweight contender, John Dodson.

The SM Mall of Asia Arena can accommodate over 16,000 spectators for most sporting events.