AFTER eight months of waiting to build on his successful start to his UFC career, Abertillery's Jack Shore finally steps into the octagon and makes his much-anticipated American debut against "tough" all-rounder Hunter Azure (9-1) on Saturday night, writes Jason Batty.

Shore arrived in Las Vegas last Wednesday and has shared his time training in the outdoor Nevada heat and the famous UFC performance institute.

It's every fighter's dream to fight in 'Sin City' and, despite the covid restrictions, Shore is relishing the opportunity to put on a show and win some new fans across the pond.

"It would be great to have the fans and family out there. Despite the restrictions, a fight in Vegas is still a fight in Vegas," he said.

"It's a good chance to showcase some of the UK's talent for the Americans watching.

"They aren't dealing with the one-dimensional British strikers anymore, they are dealing with guys that are good everywhere.

"It's a good chance for me to open some eyes in America and hopefully gain some American fans and I'm looking forward to using this this platform to propel my name over there."

UFC star Jack Shore.

UFC star Jack Shore.

The Welshman has maintained his perfect unbeaten record and has moved to 13-0 since joining the elite ranks of the UFC, with two dominant performances and two rear choke finishes since his debut in September 2019.

Like other athletes, coronavirus has stalled some momentum, so Shore is now itching to make up for lost time against his toughest opponent to date, American Azure.

"I feel good, ready to go," he said. "I am really excited, I didn't like that long layoff. It seems like a lifetime since Abu Dhabi so I am raring to go."

"I am just looking forward to fighting. It feels like such a long time since I had that rush and those pre-fight butterflies.

"It's a tough fight but I am in a position now where they are all tough, so I am looking forward to the test."

It's a test that the 26-year-old is savouring and is fully aware that the greater the climb up the rankings, the greater the skill the man in front of him possesses.

Nonetheless, Shore is undeterred and having done his homework on Azure, remains confident in collecting his 12th finish of his professional career.

Jack Shore. Picture: Dolly Clew.

Jack Shore. Picture: Dolly Clew.

"It's a tough test. He has that collegiate wrestling background, he hits hard, he is dangerous everywhere," said Shore.

"It's a big step up in class, a real tough opponent and something I need at this stage.

"A win here will put me in a good spot, but all I am doing is focusing on Hunter at the moment because he is dangerous everywhere.

"He is tough and wild, so I think it's going to be a later one. I am going to look to finish him obviously, but I think you are looking more second or third round.

"I have seen a couple of fights where his pace does slow towards the end, if I see his pace is slowing and he's starting to tire that's when I turn up the heat."

The card, live on BT Sport, is headlined by middleweight contenders Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland with the co-main featuring England's Arnold Allen versus Sodiq Yusuff.