Robert Whittaker punches Darren Till during their middlewweight championship fight of the UFC 251 event at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker bounced back to defeat Darren Till Sunday as UFC's first "Fight Island" drew to a successful close in Abu Dhabi.
"My brain is on overload," Whittaker said after throwing everything at England's Till in unanimous points win, with all three judges scoring 48-47 for the Australian.
"That fight was so stressful," Whittaker added. "I hope the fans and everybody can appreciate it because that was one of the most technical fights I've ever had."
“Honestly, I feel over the world. There was a lot of stress, a lot of pressure, a lot of thoughts going into this fight. My team was stressed, a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure. The world is crazy at the moment, so to be able to walk away with a win just means the world to me. Over the moon, over the moon, I feel amazing.
“He definitely surprised me with his stubbornness to the game plan, he just would not commit to any strikes and just sat back and waited for me. Honestly, he almost got me in that first, it was a hard go, it was a hard, hard go. I guess that was one of the most technical fights I’ve ever had, to be able to share the Octagon with him was a privilege.”
Whittaker's win brought the curtain down on the Ultimate Fighting Championship's successful excursion to Abu Dhabi.
The 26 square kilometre Yas Island resort complex was sealed off as the Las Vegas-based UFC shielded its fighters from the coronavirus pandemic.
Around 2,500 staff and fighters set up camp under strict bio-secure protocols with constant testing for COVID-19 before, during and after arrival and then regular follow-up checks throughout.
Those who tested positive for coronavirus were excluded, with the biggest casualty being Brazilian Gilbert Burns, who lost his shot at Nigerian-American UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman two weeks ago as a result.
The 29-year-old Whittaker (22-5) said before the contest that the only thing that worried him was Till's powerful left fist, a weapon that had given the man from Liverpool 10 knockout victories in an 18-2-1 record coming into the fight.
But it was a left elbow from Till (18-3-1) instead that put the Aussie on the floor in the first.Agence France-Presse
Jack Hermansson also stunned Kelvin Gastelum with a first-round submission by heel hook in the penultimate bout of the third UFC show in eight days from Fight Island, the UFC's base of operations on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Under the new partnership between the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and du La Liga High Performance Centre, 2 players from each of the four clubs Al Jazira, Al Wahda, Baniyas, Al Dhafra and Al Ain will join the du LaLiga HPC summer programme.
Stephane Peterhansel and Sam Sunderland retain lead after a day of drama in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC) set the scene for a thrilling last leg sweeping back to the UAE capital.
One of the UK’s pre-eminent big show veterans, Oli ‘The Big Shot’ Thompson will square off against Tarek Suleiman from Syria in a high-profile light heavyweight championship bout to held as part of the 6th edition of the MMA fight series UAE Warriors scheduled to take place at the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Sheikh Mansoor takes over the patronage of the Tour’s final Rolex Series event from Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whom he has replaced as chairman of the Dubai Sports Council.
Scheduled to be held on Feb.19, the RAK Half Marathon — termed as the world’s fastest half marathon — has also enticed a tantalising field of top road runners, including 2020 London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei.
Next week’s Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World will be held over the Fire course from Wednesday, Dec.2 to Saturday, Dec.5.