Irene Aldana poses for a picture after arriving at the UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
UFC champions continue to arrive in Abu Dhabi ahead of UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana this weekend, the second event in the mega five-event Return to Fight Island on Yas Island.
The main card competitors, American Holm and her Mexican competitor, Aldana, are now in their 48-hour quarantine in preparation for their eagerly awaited match-up on Oct.4.
Fellow fighters Julianna Pena and Germaine de Randamie also checked in, along with Dequan Townsend, Jinh Yu Frey, and Court McGee. All the athletes were given a safety briefing upon arrival.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi has reinforced its reputation as a world-class destination for sporting events and commitment to the highest standards of health and safety with a ‘memorable’ opening to Return to UFC Fight Island. The colossal five-event mega series, in partnership with UFC®, is taking place on Yas Island from Sept.27 to Oct.25.
Weeks of planning, preparation quarantining, sanitisation and health and safety precautions were rewarded when some of the world’s best athletes took to the Octagon at Flash Forum to deliver an action-packed UFC 253: Adesanya vs Costa, on Sunday, the first event in the highly anticipated series. The mega-event will also feature a further three UFC Fight Nights and UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje over the next four weeks.
During the past few weeks, the impressive UFC Fight Island™ 6km² safe zone ‘bubble’ on Yas Island, which has become a global benchmark for international event bubbles, has witnessed extensive sanitisation work, approximately 6,500 COVID-19 tests and the implementation of stringent health and safety measures to ensure the well-being of more 2,500 people. This includes all UFC event personnel and essential employees necessary to ensure the operational continuity of Yas Island.
With the health and safety measures in place, the fighters were able to focus on the competition, and it showed, with an evening of top-class action and a special occasion for Abu Dhabi, UFC® and the watching world, according to Return to Fight Island organisers.
“Through the dedication and commitment of our UFC partners, fighters and our stakeholders to bring Fight Island back, to the support from everybody inside the safe zone in quarantining and adhering to the health and safety measures, we have been able to demonstrate Abu Dhabi’s great capability is a global destination for international events,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication from everybody involved in event, we witnessed a truly memorable evening at UFC 253.
“What a way to start a series that further positions Abu Dhabi as a leader in the global revival of live sports events. As we prepare to reopen our doors to visitors once again very soon, Return to Fight Island is a testament to the lengths we are prepared to go to, to safeguard the wellbeing of our visitors and deliver unrivalled, unforgettable experiences.”
The fighters themselves have also praised the robust health and safety measures and hospitality in the UFC Fight Island ‘safe zone’, which has been on lockdown for more than three weeks in preparation for the event.
Danilo Marques, who recorded the first victory of Return to Fight Island with victory over Khadis Ibragimov in a light heavyweight clash, described his experience as a “dream come true”.
“It’s the best feeling ever. I’m so proud of myself, my family and friends. I was here in July with my friend who was fighting. That time I was behind the curtain. This time, being part of this event it’s a dream come true,” said the Brazilian. “It feels very good. This place is amazing. It feels very good and to get the first victory really is a dream come true.”
The retirement of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov after his October 2020 win over Justin Gaethje was a shocking one, but after meeting with UFC President Dana White on Friday, it appears that ‘The Eagle’ isn’t closing the door on a return.
No.8 ranked Michael Chiesa used his superior grappling over five rounds to beat Neil Magny in Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night headliner from Etihad Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Taking Magny down time after time, “The Maverick” Chiesa,
On Jan.20, Michael Chiesa will take on Neil Magny in a highly anticipated welterweight main event. Both Chiesa and Magny are coming off three consecutive wins and will be looking to continue this win streak on Fight Island.
Fight Island at Abu Dhabi will be in the thick of mixed martial arts action for a third time as a pair of old rivals are primed to make the trip — with a few thousand fans set to attend fights for the first time in 10 months. The first of three straight fight nights at Etihad Arena
The Dubai Police combination of Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi powered their way to a 11.77 secs third race victory from Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini in six, opening up a 13-point championship lead from Tayer and Mansoori in Abu Dhabi 5.
Racing at Sharjah on Saturday was highlighted by the fourth edition of the GCC Cup, a 1700m conditions contest afforded prestige status, carrying a prize fund of Dhs150,000 and won in a thrilling finish by Al Mustafiz, the race going to Oman as it had last season when it was staged in January.
Atkins beat Russian Sergei Perelgin, who finished second, 32 seconds behind the champion, and former two-time world champion Jonathan Albon, who came in third.