Fans excited to host ABQ UFC debut

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a big deal, and with thousands of tickets already sold, promoters of this Saturday’s first ever UFC fight card in Albuquerque are hoping for a sellout.

It’s not only a first for Albuquerque, it’s a first for local fighters who will be putting on a show for friends and family. For them, Saturday can’t come soon enough.

For the first time, Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque will transform into the centerpiece for the Ultimate Fighting Championship this Saturday.

Local fighters like John Dodson and Diego Sanchez are pumped up.

“We don’t have a professional football team, basketball team that we can rally together – this is what we all rally for,” said Dodson.

“This is the full circle homecoming that I’ve always dreamed about,” said Sanchez.

But the fighters aren’t the only ones feeling the excitement.

“Are you kidding me this is the biggest event that’s hit Albuquerque in decades,” said Dan Mourning, the General Manager for Expo New Mexico. “The UFC is the Ferrari of events. MMA is the largest growing sport in the world next to soccer, it’s huge.”

Mourning said ticket sales are well over 6,000 and climbing.

UFC has been setting up all week. Fans from near and far waiting to see their favorites face-off.

Headlining the fight night is former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson battling Rustam Khabilov, a rising star who’s trained with local famed coach Greg Jackson.

The show isn’t sold out yet, but fans are coming out of the woodworks to try and strike a deal.

“Everybody’s been hitting me up on Facebook for tickets,” Dodson laughed.

“Everybody in Albuquerque, including myself is last-minuters,” said Sanchez. Mourning said Sanchez is right, New Mexicans are notorious for buying tickets the day of.

“There’s still some great seats available, but they’re going fast but the cool thing about Tingley Coliseum – there is not a bad seat in the house,” said Mourning.

So if you’re a fan, there’s still a chance to see first hand UFC’s Burque debut.

“I want to represent Albuquerque the best way I know how and that’s just to brawl it out, be a Duke City brawler, what’s up,” said Dodson.

Last check, tickets were going for $60-$170 online through Ticketmaster. The first fights for Saturday’s showdown start at 5:30 p.m. and Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the main card at 8 p.m.

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