Fresh off his historic victory, Featherweight champion Ilia Topuria will take the honorary kick-off at Real Madrid’s upcoming match against Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabéu this Sunday. The Spanish fighter, born in Germany but fighting out of Alicante, confirmed the news himself at a press conference held upon his arrival in Spain on Thursday.

A self-proclaimed “Madridista,” Topuria expressed his deep connection to Real Madrid’s values and his excitement at meeting club president Florentino Perez. He has been vocal about his desire to see a UFC event hosted at the Bernabéu, and his recent championship win might just make that dream a reality by year’s end.

Topuria’s triumph over Alexander Volkanovski in the second round last Saturday marked a watershed moment for Spanish combat sports. He became the first fighter from Spain to capture a UFC belt, instantly solidifying his status as a national icon and a driving force behind the sport’s growing popularity in Europe.

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