It’s been a long time in the talking, but the first UFC event in Scotland will take place in July of this year. Joanne Calderwood, Scottish UFC women’s straw-weight fighter, made the announcement at the UFC press conference in Stockholm late last month.

For Scottish MMA fans, this is a long-anticipated event – there have been rumors that UFC will come to Scotland for more than five years now, but until the SSE Hydro opened in September 2013, it was difficult to imagine a Scottish venue that would be suitable.

Back in September last year, UFC president Dana White had hinted that a UFC Scotland event was on the horizon but had not given a date for the first event.

Clearly, it’s something that Scottish fans have been waiting for – as over 3,000 people pre-registered to buy tickets for the July event within an hour of the press conference announcement. The SSE Hydro, which has been nicknamed the Spaceship, has a seat capacity of 13,000 and it’s certain that UFC Fight Night 73 will be a sell-out.

Anyone interested in getting a seat at the event should put a reminder in their calendar – tickets will go on sale sometime in May. The Fight Night will be broadcast on BT Sport in the UK and on Fox Sports 1 in the US. Whether you go in person or watch onscreen, if you want to get a bet on your favorite fighters, you may as well benefit from one of the many free bets that are available online. Many of the online casino sites such as 32red and bodog now have sports books too, which is great for when you want to mix your gaming and gambling on the same account. Click here to play online slots and you’ll see that there’s a sports betting tab at the top which takes you through to 32red’s sports book. The range of sports covered is wide, including specialist sports such as UFC/MMA, Floorball, E-sports and surfing, as well as the more traditional sports you’d have a bet on like football and tennis. New customers at 32red get a free £10 bet and 10 free games on the new Terminator 2 slot at the moment.

Joanne ‘BadMofo’ Calderwood is obviously delighted with the news as she is eager to fight at home in front of a Scottish audience. The 28 year old straw-weight is the first female Scottish fighter to be signed to UFC and took part in The Ultimate Fighter, season 20. In the season finale, Calderwood was up against Seohee Ham, from South Korea. Although the fight looked to be going Ham’s way in the early stages, Calderwood gained control and ended the fight as the winner. Her pro career record is 9-0 and her goal is the 115lb belt. Calderwood has said that it would make the Scottish UFC event all the better if she could take a shot at the title there.

Calderwood’s not the only Scottish fighter waiting for the chance to shine on home soil. Robert Whiteford, from the Dinky Ninja fight team and the first Scottish fighter to have enjoyed a UFC victory, is a probable contender at the Hydro. Unfortunately, he’s been plagued by back and knee injuries over the past 12 months, and will need to get some fights in before July. Whiteford’s last scheduled fight – against Dennis Silva – was cancelled last year due to his injuries. Other Scottish fighters will be in the running for the undercard, including Cage Warriors’ fighter Steven Ray, in the lightweight category. His 16-5 fight record and two victories against former UFC fighter Curt Warburton should stand him in good stead.

Scotland isn’t the only country to have its first UFC event this year. Poland will also host the country’s first live UFC event in April at the Kraków Arena, which is also expected to be a sell-out, thanks to the enthusiasm for combat sports in the country as a whole. It’s clear that the UFC’s global presence is continuing to grow.

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