The UFC Fight Island Triple Header Octagon is in place inside Etihad Arena.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Much-publicised UFC Fight Island Triple Header, which marks the return of live public events in Abu Dhabi, reaffirms the Emirate’s status as the new international fight capital of the world, according to experienced MMA broadcaster Jon Anik.
The third installment of UFC Fight Island in the space of seven months kicks off on Saturday with a blockbuster UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar, headlined by a featherweight bout between No. 1 ranked and No. 6 ranked Calvin Kattar. It is the inaugural event at the Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi’s latest world-class entertainment venue.
It is the first of three mega UFC events in seven days on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. Wednesday will see another stacked fight card for UFC FIGHT NIGHT: CHIESA vs. MAGNY before a gripping series finale on Sunday January 24 with UFC 257: POIRIER vs. MCGREGOR – the Middle East debut of fan favourite Conor McGregor in a lightweight rematch with Dustin Poirier.
It promises to be a stellar series that only elevates Abu Dhabi’s standing as the ideal destination for world-class sports events.
Preparations inside the Etihad Arena for the first UFC Fight Island Triple Header event.
“The embrace that we have gotten from this region is so special that it gives me chills just talking about it,” said Anik, who will be Octagon side in the Etihad Arena broadcasting the fights live for ESPN throughout the series.
“I think I am probably more excited than anybody on our live production team to have fans back in the building. For the big fights, you really want to have a crowd. I can’t wait to have that support especially for Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier fight at the end of the week,” he added.
“This place gets my blood flowing, and this feels a lot like the new fight capital of the world. It feels like the safest place in the world to be doing live sporting events right now and it is great to be back here for sure.
UFC lightweight fight Paul Felder who is on Fight Island as part of the broadcast team, echoed Anik’s thoughts, marveling at Abu Dhabi’s meteoric rise as the combat sports capital of the world.
“Well, I mean this is the fight capital for us. All our big fights are happening here and in Vegas. This is my third time on Fight Island, and you know we are in a very safe bubble here, so this is the one place I actually feel comfortable roaming around,” he said.The 36-year-old is no stranger to the UAE capital having fought and triumphed over Edson Barboza at UFC 242 in 2019 and is eager to return to the Octagon in Abu Dhabi in the near future: “When I fought here it was fantastic you know, it was before COVID-19, so it was a full stadium, and I had an absolute war with Barboza, and the fans showed their love for that fight and I’d love to come back and fight sometimes. I want to fight with a crowd, and I want to fight prime time here,” he said.
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.
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.
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.
Organised under the aegis of Dubai Sports Council, the events attracted more than 25,000 in-person spectators, including thousands of boisterous supporters at the IPL finale.
The highly-anticipated card will take place at MotoSpace on Friday, November 26, and will be broadcast live in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, and worldwide on IFL TV.
In addition, on December 4th and 5th, fans will be able to watch the “Sleeping Beauty” ice show, directed by Olympic figure skating champion, Tatiana Navka, the Olympic champion in figure skating.