It’s been full steam ahead for the UFC since making their return to the octagon in Jacksonville last month. They’ve held six events in the last five weeks and have no intention of slowing down. With another event scheduled for this weekend and two more to finish off June, it was the announcement last week that “Fight Island” was finally made official with a home at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and the first event there would be UFC 251: Usman vs Burns on July 11th.
In a press release, UFC President Dana White commented: “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.
And the UFC are pulling out all the stops for this card giving fans three title fights as current welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman will take on rising star Gilbert Burns fresh off his win over Tyron Woodley just two weeks ago in the main event. Max Holloway will get a chance to take his title back from Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, Petr Yan and former UFC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo will fight for the vacant bantamweight title and fan favorite, Paige VanZant returns to the cage after a 6 month layoff due to an injury to take on Amanda Ribas.
HE Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak said in the UFC press release, “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.”
He added: “We have worked closely with all government entities in Abu Dhabi to ensure that the staging of this historic event complies with the highest standards of safety for the athletes, coaches, and all UFC personnel as well as the safety of our community. This year, Abu Dhabi has successfully proven its ability to handle all challenges and promote the well-being of its visitors and residents; and today, we are here to showcase the best that our capital has to offer, as we look forward to opening our doors once again to the world.”
Image courtesy of UFC