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“Fight Island” finally has an official location.
UFC President Dana White revealed Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take” that the oft-discussed venue will be on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
“Just like I said about Florida when we went to Florida, how the commission and the government worked with us to pull off this fight, same thing with Abu Dhabi,” White said. “These guys have been amazing partners in everything that we’ve ever done with them.”
The promotion will hold events on Yas Island on July 11, 15, 18 and 25. White confirmed that the first of those events, UFC 251, will feature a trio of title fights: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway at featherweight; Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns at welterweight and Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo at bantamweight. The UFC boss also confirmed Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas and Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant for the event.
“The first card in Abu Dhabi is ridiculous,” White said.
The Las Vegas-based promotion initially visited Yas Island for UFC 112 “Invincible” on April 10, 2010 for a card that saw Anderson Silva retain his middleweight crown with a five-round verdict over Demian Maia in the evening’s main event. In the co-headliner, Frankie Edgar defeated B.J. Penn in a lightweight championship tilt. The organization returned to the venue this past September for UFC 242, which saw Khabib Nurmagomedov defeat Dustin Poirier in the evening's main event.
This time around, extra accommodations have been made for the UFC to combat concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Abu Dhabi has actually created this safety zone on the island. Within 10 square miles will just be inhabited by us,” White said. “It’ll include an arena, hotels, training facilities for the fighters that are private — so that the whole COVID-19 thing is covered — a dining establishment, and yes, there is an Octagon on the beach.”
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