After months of speculation, UFC president Dana White has officially revealed the location and particulars surrounding Fight Island.  UFC announced Tuesday it will promote four events between July 11 and July 25 on Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates capital city of Abu Dhabi. Brazilian outlet Combate first reported Abu Dhabi as the site last week. 

While details of the final three cards have yet to be announced, White revealed on ESPN’s “First Take” the July 11 show will be the blockbuster UFC 251 pay-per-view headlined by a trio of title bouts. 

Kamaru Usman will defend his welterweight title against teammate Gilbert Burns in the main event. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will take on Max Holloway in a rematch of their 2019 bout in the co-main event, and to finish, Petr Yan and former 145-pound king Jose Aldo will square off for the vacant bantamweight title. 

The UFC 251 main card will also include a women’s strawweight rematch between former champions Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade, along with a second 115-pound bout between Paige VanZant and Amanda Ribas. 

“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 in a statement. “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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While the island won’t have the tropical or mysterious feel many envisioned based upon White’s cryptic teases, the cards will take place on a popular leisure and tourism destination which includes amusement parks and shopping. To hold the event during the coronavirus pandemic, Abu Dhabi will also create a safety zone of 10 square miles on the island which includes an arena, hotel, dining and training facilities. 

The safety zone will only be open to UFC athletes, coaches, staff and other event personnel. 

“Our partnership with the UFC, now in its second year, has proved to be one of our most successful ventures in recent years,” Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi said. “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.”

UFC entered into a five-year partnership in 2019 to bring events to Abu Dhabi, including a UFC 242 card last October headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s lightweight title defense over interim champion Dustin Poirier. Prior to 2019, UFC promoted two events in Abu Dhabi including the 2010 UFC 112 card held outdoors. 





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