UFC made a blockbuster announcement on Monday morning that it will be returning to Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Sept. 7 for the UFC 242 event, a revelation that was first reported earlier this month by MMA Fighting. What made the announcement of the “blockbuster” variety, however, was the fact that this will mark the beginning of a partnership between UFC and Abu Dhabi that will see events held in the United Arab Emirates capital over the course of the next five years.
“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market,” UFC president Dana White said in a release. “The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been overwhelming, and over the next five years, DCT Abu Dhabi will help us deliver some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE. I’m very excited about this partnership and what it will mean for the growth of this sport and for UFC in the region.”
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Being a little over four months out from an event generally makes it difficult to decipher what the main event of the card will ultimately be, but UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi is an exception to that rule. It’s expected that the headlining fight will mark the return of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to square off with interim 155-pound champion Dustin Poirier — Nurmagomedov congratulated the new interim champion on Twitter and capped off the tweet with a “see you in September” message, seemingly revealing that the undisputed title fight is at least on the table for UFC 242. Upon the announcement of the card on Monday, Poirier had a message for his likely next opponent.— to determine an undisputed king of the division. Following Poirier’s victory at UFC 236,
UFC has held two events in Abu Dhabi previously: UFC 112 in 2010 and UFC Fight Night 39 in 2014.
More UFC news, rumors
- RIZIN bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi and Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell are set for their champion vs. champion rematch. Bellator MMA announced on Monday that the two champs will meet again on June 14 as part of the Bellator 222 card at Madison Square Garden. The two met back on New Year’s Eve at RIZIN 14 with Horiguchi retaining his bantamweight title via third-round submission. In the rematch here in the United States for Bellator, Caldwell’s bantamweight championship will be on the line.
- In case you missed it over the weekend, Tito Ortiz is holding off retirement … again. According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the 44-year-old ex-UFC light heavyweight champion has signed a multi-fight deal with Combate Americas. It’s expected that Ortiz will make his promotional debut this fall.