Mounir Lazzez will be making his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night: ‘Kattar vs Ige’ in Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning. The Tunisian born striker has been living in Dubai for almost a decade and trains out of Team Nogueira.

The welterweight has spent his entire career competing on the pro circuit in the Middle East. He has amassed a 9-1 record that includes eight finishes and Lazzez says he has a big following among fans in the region,

“UFC knows what I bring to the table and they know my following here and in the Middle East. I’m not coming here just to make it to the UFC. I’m coming here to knock people out and to show my hard work so that’s why they’re confident in me to have my UFC debut on the main card against a tough opponent.”

Chance encounter

All of Lazzez’s finishes have come via KO or TKO and it was those highlights that actually sealed his dream move to the UFC. A friend of his happened to bump into Dana White and showed him some clips,

“By chance he came across Dana White in some restaurant in Vegas, and he showed him my highlight reel. My name was there on the table since Khabib vs. Poirier that they had here in Abu Dhabi. That’s how they get the deal done.”

Lazzez says that the offer to fight in Abu Dhabi might never have come about had it not been for his enterprising friend,

“He showed him my highlight reel. (White) followed him on social media, and he put me in contact with Sean Shelby. He offered me a direct fight on July 15 against my opponent. I got the message on social media. I told him I’m up for it. Just direct, I put him in contact with my manager, and we got the deal done.”

Baptism of fire

Lazzez comes into this one on the back of two first-round finishes but faces a baptism of fire against Abdul Rasak Alhassan. The American is returning after a long lay-off but is widely believed to be one of the most dangerous men in the division and all ten of his victories have come by way of KO or TKO,

“I’m coming as well too from highlight reel knockouts. You can check them! So I’m focused on myself and what I’m going to bring on the night so don’t blink. It’s going to be fireworks, two stand-up fighters that will entertain the fans. I’m expecting a very nice fight. I’m approaching it in a calm, composed way.”

While some fighters have not been able to put together a full training camp during the Covid-19 pandemic Lazzez feels well prepared,

“We’ve trained for this moment and I’m just going to go there confident, composed, calm and smart to deliver on the night. It’s as simple as that.”