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UFC continues European expansion, confirms dates for Croatia and The Netherlands

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) continues to expand its reach in Europe and is set for two debut events in early 2016.

The leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion announced today that it will be hosting events inside Zagreb Arena in Croatia on Sunday, April 10, and inside Ahoy Rotterdam in The Netherlands on May 8.

Both events will be of the "Fight Night" variety and tickets are expected go on sale Friday, Feb. 12 (Croatia) and on Thursday, March 24 (The Netherlands). Each show will be broadcast stateside via FOX Sports 1.

The move towards attracting different European fan bases comes after a year in which UFC held inaugural events in Poland and Scotland.

It's an important venture for the overwhelmingly profitable promotion, which raked in a record-high $600 million in revenue for 2015.

With Top-10 heavyweight stars Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem on the roster, both of whom are of Croatian or Dutch blood, UFC has at least one-half of a potential main event act for each show.

However, "Demolition Man" could be a goner if UFC doesn't pay up. Overeem recently completed his current ZUFFA contract by knocking out (video) ex-heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos, at the UFC on FOX 17 event last month.

As for the No. 2-ranked Miocic, he's sitting pretty as the owner of an 8-2 UFC record, which has put him in serious title shot discussions. In fact, UFC President Dana White believes it would be hard to deny him the winner of Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez 2 at UFC 196.

"It would be a dream if I was able to fight in Croatia, I traveled there for the first time in 2015 to train with Mirko Cro Cop and it was a great experience just to see the country and spend some time there with my family," Miocic told "I don't know what the UFC has in store for me now, but I'll definitely be back in Croatia one way or another."

In Miocic's last outing, he clobbered veteran slugger Andrei Arlovski via strikes in less than 60 seconds at UFC 195 (video).

Stick with MMAmania for more updates as each fight card takes shape in the coming weeks.

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