And it’s back! Martial arts’ fans mark your calendars as no less than five action-packed fight nights head to Yas Island for the long-awaited Fight Island event.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 5, 2020
The first ever UFC Fight Island was held in Abu Dhabi back in July 2020, when the UFC brought UFC 251 and three Fight Nights to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. UFC is said to be the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation, producing more than 40 live events annually in some of the most prestigious arenas around the world, including right here in the UAE capital.
The UFC and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) are behind what has been slated as ‘a cultural phenomenon that captivated the sports world’. The UFC will produce five events for ‘Return to UFC FIGHT ISLAND’, including two Pay Per Views and three Fight Nights.
The action-packed schedule begins in just six days on Saturday, 26th September, with UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa, as middleweight champion Israel Adesanya faces his toughest test yet against Brazilian powerhouse Paulo Costa. A new light heavyweight champion will be crowned on the same card, as Dominick Reyes takes on Jan Blachowicz for the vacant belt.
The action doesn’t stop there, as Saturday, 3rd October sees UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana. On Saturday, 10th October, Moraes vs.Sandhagen will compete, and Saturday, 17th October sees Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie step into the ring.
Return to UFC Fight Island concludes with UFC 254: Khabib vs. Gaethje on Saturday, 24th October, featuring the most highly anticipated match up of the year, as undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov makes his return to the Octagon to defend his belt against interim champion and No.1 contender Justin Gaethje.
“Fight Island was a massive success in every way that you can measure success,” said UFC President Dana White. “While the rest of the world shut down, we worked with our partners in Abu Dhabi to put on the best live sporting experience, and we did it safely and responsibly.
“Return to Fight Island will showcase some of the best fights of the year, including one that I’ve predicted has ‘Fight of the Year’ potential. This stretch of fights is going to be insane and I can’t wait.”
Speaking about the forthcoming event, His Excellency, Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, Said: “We believe that the success of UFC Fight Island helped pave the way for the safe hosting of sports events amid the current circumstances and solidified the brilliant partnership we have established with UFC.
“The second edition of UFC Fight Island will further demonstrate Abu Dhabi’s capabilities as a world class destination for international events. We thank UFC for putting their trust in Abu Dhabi.”
To accommodate public health guidelines, DCT Abu Dhabi will once again create a safety zone that will include arenas, hotels, training facilities, restaurants, entertainment options, and so on.
The safety zone will only be open to UFC Fight Island personnel, including athletes, coaches, UFC staff, and employees who are necessary to ensure the operation of the facilities.
The first four events, including UFC 253: ADESANYA VS. COSTA, and the three proceeding FIGHT NIGHTS, will be broadcast live in prime time in the United States, while UFC 254: KHABIB vs. GAETHJE will be broadcast in prime time in Abu Dhabi (telecast schedule below).
Return to UFC FIGHT ISLAND will be showcased live on global broadcasters around the world and on Pay-Per-View in select markets. UFC events are broadcast in 175 countries and territories in 40 different languages and reach approximately one billion TV households.
In the UAE and throughout the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, UFC content is exclusively streamed on UFC Arabia, UFC’s first Arabic-language streaming subscription service in the region. ‘UFC Arabia’ can be downloaded through Apple Store and Google Play and is available on web, smart phone, tablets and Smart TVs.
Here are the start times
(Eastern Standard Time / Gulf Standard Time)
Saturday, 26th September – UFC 253: ADESANYA VS. COSTA
Saturday, 3rd October – UFC FIGHT NIGHT: HOLM vs. ALDANA
Saturday, 10th October – UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MORAES vs. SANDHAGEN
Saturday, 17th October – UFC FIGHT NIGHT: ORTEGA vs. THE KOREAN ZOMBIE