NORFOLK, Va. - Friday, Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Convocation Center will host a season-opening college basketball doubleheader as the ODU men's and women's hoops teams start their regular seasons. Saturday, 'The Ted' transitions from hoops to haymakers.
That's when the arena hosts UFC Fight Night - the first time UFC has ever come to Norfolk.
The event is headlined by two of the lightweight division’s most fearless and entertaining athletes. No. 8 Dustin Poirier squares off in the main event against former champion No. 13 Anthony Pettis with both fighters hoping a win will land them in title contention.
The two fighters held an open workout, free to the public, Thursday at the Constant Center. We asked each fighter what's going to be going through his mind when he enters the octagon Saturday.
"We don't get paid for overtime," Pettis said smiling. "So the quicker I finish this fight the quicker I get paid, go home and go to the next."
"I'm not really thinking," Poirier admitted. "I'm just going. It's tunnel vision. I'm doing what i'm trained to do."
"I feel like Dustin is a great athlete and great fighter," Pettis said frankly. "But my mindset and my skill level is on a different level."
"The fight will end with my hand raised," Poirier said confidently. "I'm showing up to fight and win by any means necessary and I'm willing to give it all in there.
Poirier (21-5, 1 NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) looks for his sixth win in his eighth bout since moving up to the highly competitive lightweight division. Poirier has 16 finishes in 21 career victories and has faced a who’s who of MMA fighters including Conor McGregor, Eddie Alvarez and Max Holloway. Pettis (20-6; fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.) will push Poirier’s skills to the limit with his savvy striking techniques. Pettis, who has also recorded 10 wins by knockout and six by submission, hopes to earn his third victory in his last four fights.
Another featured matchup features popular veterans Matt Brown (22-16, fighting out of Denver, Colo.) and Diego Sanchez (29-10, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) in a welterweight bout that is sure to please the crowd. The intense Brown has registered 13 career knockouts, seven submissions and has earned five post-fight performance bonuses. Sanchez is also an aggressive fighter who makes his return to the 170-pound division for the first time since a February 2012 matchup with Jake Ellenberger.
Prelims begin at 6:30pm Saturday. The main card is set to start at 10pm.