The Whitsundays will be put on the world stage when local MMA fighter Anton Zafir steps into the ring at UFC 193 in Melbourne next week.
The Whitsunday Martial Arts Club coach is set to take on American James Moontasri on November 15 after being given the nod to replace the injured Brendan 'Badger' O'Reilly.
Zafir, who is a teacher at Proserpine High School, said he did a little dance around his WMA gym after receiving news of the call-up yesterday.
"One of the Aussie guys injured himself on Thursday night. They messaged me saying 'maybe' and then they rang on Friday and said 'do you want to fight in eight days'," Zafir explained.
"It will be tough but it's an opportunity too good to pass up.
"I'm looking forward to the experience and looking forward to performing in-front of one of the biggest audiences in UFC history."
Usually fighters spend weeks preparing for bouts through means of relentless training, strict dieting and comprehensive strategising, but Zafir, 28, has just a number of days to get himself conditioned before stepping out into the ring at Etihad Stadium next Sunday night.
"I haven't seen any footage of him (Badger). He has had four fights in UFC so he's no slouch," Zafir said.
"Any fighter fighting at this level will be difficult but I'll do the best I've got."
Zafir, who thanked friends and the Whitsunday community for their support, has a 7-1 MMA record and is the holder of dual nitro welterweight titles.
He flies out to Melbourne for the welterweight bout on Tuesday.
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