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Three title fights to kick off UFC's series of 'Fight Island' events in Abu Dhabi

The MMA organisation has confirmed it will stage events in the UAE on 11, 15, 18 and 25 July.

Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will bid to clinch the bantamweight title next month.
Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will bid to clinch the bantamweight title next month.
Image: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

THE UFC HAS announced that Yas Island in Abu Dhabi will play host to four of the mixed martial arts organisation’s events next month.

Dana White, the UFC president, intimated in recent weeks that shows would be held at a mystery ‘Fight Island’, although the organisation has already pressed ahead with five other events which have taken place behind closed doors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

All five have happened in the USA and three more are scheduled for Las Vegas later this month. However, the company is now preparing to head to the United Arab Emirates resort, which will host UFC 251 on 11 July, followed by three Fight Night events on 15, 18 and 25 July.

UFC 251 will feature three title bouts, headlined by Kamaru Usman defending his welterweight belt against Gilbert Burns. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski’s rematch against Max Holloway and Petr Yan versus Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight belt are the other title fights.

Abu Dhabi has been the venue for three previous UFC events, with Yas Island most recently used for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s successful lightweight title defence against Dustin Poirier back in September.

“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,” White said.

“Abu Dhabi has been an amazing location to hold fights over the past 10 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.”

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UFC Fight Island Source: UFC

In line with public health guidelines, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism intends to secure a safety zone within the nearly 10-square mile island, including an arena, hotel, training facilities and dining areas.

The safety zone will be only be accessible to fighters and their coaches, UFC personnel and Yas Island employees.

Meanwhile, a heavyweight title fight between reigning champion Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier – the third such meeting of the pair – has been booked for UFC 252 on 15 August. A venue hasn’t been confirmed but the bout is expected to take place in the USA.

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Paul Dollery

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