Abu Dhabi is capital of combat sport: Nogueira - GulfToday

Abu Dhabi is capital of combat sport: Nogueira

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira believes Return to Fight Island and the partnership between UFC and Abu Dhabi has firmly put the emirate on the map as the global capital of combat sports.

ABU DHABI: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is a former UFC interim light heavyweight champion. With a background in jiu-jitsu, the man affectionately known as ‘Big Nog’ knows a thing or two about what makes a combat sports destination.

Nogueira is currently in Abu Dhabi for Return to Fight Island, the five-event mega series currently under way on Yas Island. The event follows the overwhelming success of the inaugural UFC Fight Island in July.

Following an action-packed opening event at UFC 253: Israel Adesanya vs Paulo Costa on Sunday morning, Return to Fight Island now features three UFC Fight Nights before closing with UFC UFC 254: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje on Oct.25.

Nogueira believes Return to Fight Island and the partnership between UFC and Abu Dhabi has firmly put the emirate on the map as the global capital of combat sports.

“From the beginning to the end we have the best shows, five cards then to close we have Khabib, so it’s very exciting,” said Nogueira, who has been travelling to the UAE to compete since 2000.

“Abu Dhabi and UFC have joined together to form the best organisation of combat sport anywhere in the world. The capital of fighting was Las Vegas, now it is Abu Dhabi.”

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.

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 as 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 the 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.”

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