UFC returns to Japan with event at Saitama Super Arena on Feb. 26, 2012

via cdn0.sbnation.com

Someone call The Vapors, the UFC is turning Japanese.

Ultimate Fighting Championship will make its long awaited return to "The Land of the Rising Sun" when it holds an event at the Saitama Super Arena on Feb. 26, 2012.

The promotion officially announced its intention to head back to Japan for the first time since Dec. 1997 late last night on its Twitter account.

Information has slowly trickled out (via Daniel Herbertson) with details on the show. The Saitama Super Arena will be reconfigured to seat around 20,000 spectators with the fights starting at 10 a.m. locally. Why is this good news for fans stateside? Because it means the event will air live on pay-per-view at its normal time.

No fights have been announced for the card as of now, as that likely won't happen until sometime in November of this year, but UFC is reportedly looking at making Japan a destination spot for events, no different than what the promotion plans to do in Brazil.

Speaking of which, the event early next year will be booked and promoted in the same vein as UFC 134: "Rio" this past Aug. 27. That means plenty of local events and you can expect the card to be stacked with Japanese fighters. 

There's certainly no shortage on the current roster.

The promotion has one Japanese show to its credit prior to the Zuffa regime: UFC 15.5 "Ultimate Japan" on Dec. 21, 1997, from the Yokohama Arena featuring Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Frank Shamrock and Kazuahi Sakuraba, among others.

Today, the UFC has no shortage of Japanese stars, as well as fighters who made their names in the early days of PRIDE FC, K-1 and Shooto.

Although his stock isn't exactly at its highest, Yushin Okami is available after losing his middleweight championship fight against Anderson Silva. Former PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi could be tapped for a 2012 homecoming and what Japanese MMA fan wouldn't show up to boo Yoshihiro Akiyama?

That's without mentioning the fact that current Strikeforce champions Alistair Overeem and Dan Henderson are both in negotiations to return to UFC. Hello, Japan for the both of them?

It could be quite the event, assuming the Triads that allegedly tried to kill Bob Sapp and run PRIDE outof town don't show up and try to pull a Whitey Bulger and strong-arm Dana White.

Either way, UFC is headed back to Japan on Feb. 26, 2012. Excited?

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