Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee Official As UFC 216 Main Event

Tony Ferguson Kevin Lee
Credit: Mike Sloan/

After searching far and wide for a main event for UFC 216 in Las Vegas this October, the UFC has bumped up a fight already announced for the card. Unable to find any other suitable title bout to cap off the show, the interim title fight between lightweights Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will now serve as headliner. The promotion announced the news late yesterday.

Tickets for the event go on sale tomorrow.

Ferguson (22–3) will be fighting for the first time since last November, when he defeated former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos. “El Cucuy” has won nine straight bouts in the UFC, against impressive competition. A shot at interim gold fell through at UFC 209 in March when scheduled opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of the bout last minute after falling ill while cutting weight.

With Nurmagomedov unavailable, the UFC opted to pair Ferguson up with Kevin Lee at UFC 216, fresh off a controversial win over Michael Chiesa in June. Lee (16–2) finished Chiesa via rear-naked joke, but it appeared that Chiesa neither tapped nor went out. He filed an appeal, which was ultimately rejected by the Oklahoma Athletic Commission.

Lee now gets his first shot at interim gold. The temporary title became a necessity as Conor McGregor took time off to face Floyd Mayweather in last weekend’s boxing superfight. No official timetable is set for McGregor’s return.

Per MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, the promotion had tried to book every available champ to anchor the card.

UFC 216 takes place October 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum will meet Derrick Lewis in the co-main event.