An all-British featherweight bout between Nathaniel Wood and Lerone Murphy has been made official for UFC 286, The Independent can confirm.
Following two successful Fight Night cards at London’s O2 Arena in 2022, the venue will now host the UFC’s first pay-per-view event in the UK since 2016, as UFC 286 plays out on 18 March.
Hometown fighter Wood will take on unbeaten Mancunian Lerone Murphy in the second fight to be confirmed for the event, with Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze also set to square off at middleweight.
Wood (19-5) was set to compete at UFC London last March but saw his scheduled contest fall through at the last moment, but the 29-year-old stepped out at the July edition of the event to outpoint Charles Rosa. Wood then fought just two months later, beating Charles Jourdain via decision in Paris. Wood, a former bantamweight, moved up to featherweight for both fights.
Meanwhile, Murphy (11-0-1) has not fought since October 2021, when he defeated Makwan Amirkhani on points. The 31-year-old is unbeaten as a professional and holds a UFC record of 3-0-1, having won his last three bouts.
A welterweight title fight between British champion Leon Edwards and the man he dethroned, Kamaru Usman, is expected to headline UFC 286 if Usman is healthy in time.
Liverpudlian lightweight Paddy Pimblett and close friend Molly McCann were standout performers at both editions of UFC London in 2022, while Wigan heavyweight Tom Aspinall headlined both cards.
Aspinall submitted veteran Alexander Volkov in the first round in March but suffered an injury 15 seconds into his fight against Curtis Blaydes in July. The Briton has not ruled himself out of UFC 286 but admitted that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that he features.