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UFC officially announces May 19 event in Chile, five bouts

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Alexa Grasso
Alexa Grasso
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It’s official: The Octagon is set to land in Chile later this year.

The UFC announced Monday that it will hold its first card in the city of Santiago at the Movistar Arena on May 19. Chile becomes just the second South American country to host a UFC event, along with the oft-visited Brazil.

Five bouts were confirmed for the show.

Diego Rivas meets Guido Cannetti in a bantamweight bout, Alexa Grasso vs. Tatiana Suarez and Poliana Botelho vs. Syuri Kondo have been booked at strawweight, welterweights Vicente Luque and Chad Laprise will fight, and Andrea Lee makes her long-awaited UFC debut in a women’s flyweight bout vs. Veronica Macedo.

Rivas (7-1), who hails from the Chilean city of Temuco, will attempt to defend home court against Argentina’s Cannetti. The two were teammates under Fabricio Werdum on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. Since their time on the show, both men have faced major road bumps in their careers, with Rivas being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2016 and Cannetti (7-3) dealing with a 10-month USADA suspension that same year.

Mexico’s Grasso got back in the win column last August, winning a split decision against Randa Markos to improve her record to 10-1. The 24-year-old now faces the undefeated Suarez, who won TUF 23’s strawweight tournament and currently holds a 5-0 record with two Octagon victories.

Also in strawweight action, Brazil’s Botelho (6-1) will look for her second UFC win when she takes on Kondo (6-0), a Japanese pro wrestling star who made a successful UFC debut last September in Saitama, topping Chan-Mi Jeon by split decision.

Lee (8-2), a standout in the Invicta FC and Legacy Fighting Alliance promotions, will finally make the walk to the Octagon after her debut at UFC 216 last October was announced and almost immediately canceled due to her requiring extra testing from the USADA because of a previous failed drug test. “KGB” puts a four-fight win streak on the line when she meets former bantamweight Macedo (5-1), who seeks for her first UFC win after losing to Ashlee Evans-Smith by third-round TKO back in September 2016.

Another Ultimate Fighter winner, Canada’s Laprise is 2-0 since moving back up to 170 pounds last year, and he has won three straight overall to boost his record to 13-2. He meets Luque (12-6-1), a prolific fight finisher who has defeated five of his six UFC opponents by knockout or submission.

UFC Chile does not have a main event set, but Argentinian welterweight contender Santiago Ponzinibbio recently suggested a headlining bout between himself and Donald Cerrone.