Last month the UFC announced the signing of Conor McGregor’s SBG Ireland teammate Charlie Ward and revealed that the welterweight would make his debut at UFC Fight Night 102 in Albany, New York in December.
With UFC Fight Night 99 set to take place in Belfast on November 19th, it seemed like a slightly strange decision to place the Irish fighter on the upstate New York card just a few weeks later.
However, on Saturday, the42 confirmed that Ward’s promotional debut has been brought forward and he will now compete at the Belfast event instead.
Originally Ward, a four-fight novice with a record of 3-1, was scheduled to face the much more experienced Randy Brown, who possesses an 8-1 ledger and has already competed three times in the UFC, winning twice. Seven of Brown’s eight wins have been finishes, four via KO/TKO and three via submission. But Ward will now be matched with another opponent, the identity of which has yet to be confirmed.
Ward made his professional debut in March of 2015, entering a one-night middleweight tournament at Rage in the Cage 3 in Scotland. He was eliminated at the first hurdle, losing via second-round stoppage to Wales’ John ‘The White Tyson’ Phillips. At that time however, Phillips was already 22 fights into his professional career and possessed 16 wins, all of which had come inside the distance. He would go on to win the tournament and in February he destroyed Cheick Kone in just 65 seconds to win the BAMMA middleweight title. Phillips has also become a teammate of Ward’s at SBG Ireland in the interim.
Since that early setback, Ward has won three consecutive fights.
Unfortunately, one of those wins was shrouded in tragedy, as his opponent Joao Carvalho died roughly 48 hours after losing to Ward at the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin.