UFC Ready to Hit Utica on Friday Night
UFC Fight Night in Utica is happening Friday night at some of the fighters participating in the evenings bouts met local officials, fans and the media on Tuesday.
At the 72 Tavern and Grill adjacent to the Adirondack Bank Center, which will officially open Friday morning at 11:00 a.m., three of the fighters on Friday's card fighters - Jimmie Rivera, Marlon Moraes and Rochester native Gregor Gillespie talked about their excitement for for Friday's action.
Rivera and Moraes will headline Friday's card - fighting at 135 lbs.
Gillespie - who now fights and trains on Long Island - is on the undercard and branded himself 'the hometown guy.'
''I'm not from Utica, but I'm from Rochester and I'm from Upstate New York. As everyone know we're a tight nit crowd up here and I look forward to Friday and puttin' on a really good show for you guys... I've done everything I can to prepare myself to come out with a 'W' on Friday night - and make upstate New York look really tough,'' Gillespie said.
Gillespie, with an 11-0 professional record, said he looks forward to putting on a show, and doing some fishing locally, too.
Since being legalized in New York in March of 2016, the UFC has hosted seven fight events in the state. Friday in Utica will mark number eight.
Friday's action will be televised on FS1 - with prelims at 8:00 p.m and the main card at 10:00 p.m.
In addition to bringing top-level MMA to Utica, David Lockett, senior director of public relations for the UFC, said the organization wants to have a positive community impact as well.
He presented Russell Brooks with a check for $5,000 for the Utica Food Pantry. Fan attending Friday's bouts at the Adirondack Bank Center are also encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable food to be donated to the Utica Food Pantry.