The UFC and the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi (DTC) have announced that UFC Fight Island events will be held on Yas Island. The emirate’s holiday resort will host four events including UFC 251 on July 11, with Fight Night events to be held on July 15, 18 and 25 with an international card of fighters.
UFC President Dana White has been defiant in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and is determined to build on the success of the last two UFC events in Jacksonville Florida. The events in Abu Dhabi have been designed to allow the UFC to navigate the strict COVID-19 travel restrictions placed on international fighters.
The DCT Abu Dhabi will create a ten square mile safety zone around Yas Island. This includes the main arena, training facilities and the resort. Access to the facility will be limited to UFC athletes and coaches, event personnel, and resort staff.
The UFC President has been working on the Fight Island concept since the pandemic began:
“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. I can’t wait to deliver amazing fights from Yas Island”.
The UFC has had success in the past in Abu Dhabi with UFC 242 and Khabib vs Poirier drawing a crowd of 14,000 in September 2019.
The card has been tipped to include a Welterweight showdown between Kamaru Usman’s title defence against Gilbert Burns. Australian Alexander Volkanovski will defend his belt against Max Holloway; with Jose Aldo taking on Petr Yan.
The UFC have also announced that Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 253 in September. The American won the right to take on the Eagle with a knockout win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 earlier in May.