Nasrat Haqparast will be back in action at UFC Paris. The German lightweight, who is of Afghan descent, has been booked to face John Makdessi at the Accor Arena on September 3rd.
It is a fight that has been in the works since 2019. It was cancelled, rebooked and then cancelled again but but the rivalry between the two men has continued to play out on social media:
— Nasrat Haqparast (@Nasrat_mma) August 11, 2020
Haqparast used to represent Afghanistan when he competed inside the octagon. But since the Taliban took over and changed the flag, as well as banning MMA, he has been unable to use the country’s traditional colours.
This will be the first time in history that the UFC has promoted an event in France. The 20,000 capacity venue has previously played host to NBA games and Celine Dion concerts.
Haqparast (13-5) has fought twice for the UFC in Europe before. But his last seven bouts have all taken place in either the US or Canada.
He is coming off back to back losses so the stakes are high for the 26 year old ahead of a fight which was initially rescheduled for February. Makdessi pulled out after tearing his hamstring meaning the match has now been postponed twice.
— UFC (@ufc) October 28, 2018
Makdessi (18-7) will be hoping to make it third time lucky. The 37 year old has been on the roster since 2010 and made his UFC debut on a card headlined by Georges St Pierre.
He has only fought three times in the last three years but is on a good run of form, albeit not all recent. The Canadian has won four out of his last five fights.
There is an 11 year age difference between the two men. But Haqparast has spent time training in Canada and with the fight having been in the works for so long they will already be very familiar with one another.
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Best of the rest
The event is headlined by a heavyweight fight between #1 ranked Ciryl Gane (19-1) and #3 ranked Tai Tuivasa (15-3). The former fought for the interim title in his last fight but came up short against fellow French speaker Francis N’Gannou.
In the middleweight division #1 ranked Robert Whittaker (23-6) has been matched with #3 ranked Marvin Vettori (18-4-1). Former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (23-9) makes her flyweight debut taking on UAE Warriors veteran Manon Fiorot (9-1).