Fresh off the success of UFC 242 held in Abu Dhabi last year, the high-octane combat-sporting event makes a return to the capital with UFC Fight Island taking place at Yas Island this July.
UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi
2019 saw the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism (DCT) ink a five-year partnership deal to host the adrenaline-fuelled event in the capital, starting with the UFC 242 witnessing the heroic return of Khabib Nurmagomedov defeating Dustin Poirier. A whopping 14,000 fans descended upon the emirate to witness the fight night.
This time, in light of the novel Coronavirus making social distancing a top priority, UFC is making adjustments and changes to the event for the Fight Island, which will host a ten square mile-long “safety zone” entirely limited to athletes, coaches, UFC staff and limited personnel. What’s more, the “safety zone” will be home to an arena, hotel, training facilities, and dining establishments.
“Our partnership with the UFC, now in its second year, has proved to be one of our most successful ventures in recent years. Thanks to their commitment and cooperation, we are proud to announce that Abu Dhabi will host the first-ever “Fight Island” event, marking the long-awaited return of UFC fights to the global stage.”Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi
UFC President Dana White told ESPN hosting UFC events in the US would “burn out all my American talent,” making Yas Island the next-best choice “ to get people into the country from other parts of the world.”
UFC 251 fight night
Abu Dhabi could see three championship bouts. The event includes a welterweight title bout between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, a featherweight title rematch between Alex Volkanovski and Max Holloway, and a bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo.
While the headline fights aren’t confirmed, fans can expect action-packed combat sports on Saturday, 11th July, followed by Fight Night events on Wednesday, 15th July, Saturday, 18th July and Saturday, 25th July.
“We came up with the idea of having fights on ‘Fight Island’ because we needed a destination to hold international events during the global pandemic. Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past ten years and it is the perfect place for these events. The infrastructure we are building will be such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the fighters that’s never been done before – from the arena, the private training facility and the Octagon on the island – it’s going to be an experience that none of us will ever forget. I can’t wait to deliver amazing fights from Yas island”.Dana White, UFC President
(Featured photograph credit: WAM)