Khabib Nurmagomedov is stacking the deck for his promotion’s debut in the United States.
Eagle FC — an organization owned by the former UFC lightweight champion — is set to arrive in the U.S. with a card in Miami, Fla. on Jan. 28.
One of the highlights on the card will be the return of ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans as he comes out of retirement for his first fight since 2018.
Evans has been teasing his comeback for several months but when he last spoke to MMA Fighting, he was pursuing a boxing match against Logan Paul rather than a full-time return to MMA. Now it appears those plans have changed with Evans expected to fight on the Eagle FC card on Jan. 28.
Yahoo Sports first reported Evans’ return to action.
While it’s expected that Evans will be competing at 205 pounds, he has not booked his opponent just yet.
Evans’ career with the UFC came to a close after he suffered five straight losses in the octagon including a knockout to Anthony Smith in his final appearance in 2018.
While Evans will be featured on the card, the main event is expected to be a heavyweight showdown as noted kickboxing star Tyrone Spong makes his return to the cage as he faces off with one-time UFC title challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Regarded for many years as one of the top kickboxers in the world, Spong has more recently turned his full attention to boxing where he’s amassed an impressive 14-0 record. Spong was actually scheduled to face current WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in 2018 but a failed drug test nixed the fight from actually happening.
Now Spong is expected to compete for the first time in more than two years while he will be fighting MMA for the first time since 2013 when he picked up a win as part of the World Series of Fighting roster.
As for Silva, the once highly regarded heavyweight contender has fallen on much harder times in recent years while enduring through a six-fight losing streak dating back to his last three fights in the UFC.
During that stretch, Silva has suffered five knockouts during those six losses with his most recent setback coming at an event called Megdan Fighting 9 in Serbia back in June. Silva also tried his hand at bare-knuckle fighting back in 2019 and he suffered a knockout loss to fellow UFC veteran Gabriel Gonzaga that night as well.
ESPN initially reported Spong vs. Silva on Monday.
The upcoming Eagle FC event will take place on Jan. 28 at the new FLX Arena being constructed in Miami. Further details about the event and future plans for the promotion will be discussed by Nurmagomedov at a press conference being held in Miami on Dec. 15.
The debut card in the U.S. is just the latest push Nurmagomedov is making as a promoter after he retired with an undefeated record including his reign as lightweight champion in the UFC.
“I want to say I’m so proud of Khabib,” Nurmagomedov’s longtime manager Ali Abdelaziz said when speaking to MMA Fighting about the upcoming event. “He’s taking a huge chance coming here to the U.S. and giving such opportunities. The sport is growing so fast and so many great fighters, this is one more opportunity for fighters to make a living. Your promoter to be Khabib, this is amazing. A guy who understands the sport and understands fighting. I think this is going to be a huge add to the MMA community and everybody should be happy — the UFC, Bellator, PFL — all of them should be happy to have a great guy who’s coming to the U.S. to give more opportunities.
“Last but not least, I’m proud of my brother Rizvan [Magomedov], who is the CEO of Eagle FC, a guy who’s been around the sport and around me for a long time. He understands the sport as good as anybody on the business level and I think this is going to be amazing for everyone. Just giving one more platform and everyone loves Khabib. He has everyone’s support from the other promotions. He will support everyone else also. I’m just too proud Rizvan and Khabib to start this great promotion in the U.S. It’s just going to give guys financial opportunities to show their skills and take care of their families and everybody should be happy about this.”
Nurmagomedov has focused a lot of his time since retirement on growing Eagle FC as a promotion and now he’s looking to conquer new ground by bringing the organization to the U.S. for the first time with the potential for at least 10 shows in 2022 alone.