Sources: UFC 253, 254 to be held at Fight Island


The UFC is planning a return trip to Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi at the end of the month.

Sources confirmed to ESPN multiple reports on Friday that the UFC will promote five live events in Abu Dhabi, beginning with its UFC 253 pay-per-view event on Sept. 26. The events will take place on five consecutive Saturdays, and culminate with UFC 254 on Oct. 24.

A middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya (19-0) and Paulo Costa (13-0) will headline UFC 253. A lightweight championship fight featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Justin Gaethje (22-2) will headline UFC 254.

It will mark the UFC’s second extended stay at Fight Island in the past three months. The UFC took four events there from July 11 to July 26, including its UFC 251 event featuring Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Amid the pandemic, Abu Dhabi has offered a safe location for the UFC to host events that are accessible to foreign fighters who can not travel to the U.S.

UFC president Dana White has raved about the facilities in place, and even said he intended to purchase a home there. The events have been held without fans and in conjunction with the local government’s tourism department. All athletes and staff are tested prior to arriving in Abu Dhabi, and are tested again and quarantined. Those in the bubble created for the events are not allowed to come and go as they please.

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