UFC 251, Three Fight Night Events Officially Announced for Fight Island

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UFC 240
UFC 240, Rogers Place, Edmonton, AB Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

The UFC’s Fight Island has a location, and four dates to go with it.

Following an appearance by Dana White on ESPN, the UFC announced via press release that “Fight Island” will be set on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. In addition to revealing the location, the promotion has confirmed four dates will be held there in the month of July, including the UFC 251 PPV, and three Fight Night events.

The four-pack of cards will kick off on July 11 with UFC 251. That would have been the promotion’s crown jewel of summer, the card which tops International Fight Week in Las Vegas. Fight Night shows on Wednesday July 15, Saturday July 18, and Saturday July 25 will follow.

“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,” Dana White was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s press release. “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.”

Of course, those expecting a pirate flag and rum punch on the beach of some forgotten private island in the Pacific may be a little bit disappointed. But the location of Fight Island very much plays into the UFC’s five-year partnership with Abu Dhabi to bring events there. The first of which was last year’s UFC 242, which also took place on Yas Island.

That event was headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier, with Khabib unifying the lightweight championship.

To ensure athlete safety during the pandemic, an approximately ten square mile safety zone will be established around the island. The area will “only be open to UFC athletes and their coaches; UFC staff and other event personnel; and Yas Island employees who are necessary to ensure the operation of the facilities.”

No fights were announced in Tuesday’s press release. However, the promotion is reportedly looking at booking three title fights for UFC 251, including Jose Aldo vs. Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight title. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2 is also expected to feature.

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