The purpose-built UAE safezone will stage both UFC 253 and 254…

Although we’re still awaiting official confirmation from the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT) and other local stakeholders, it’s all but certain that both UFC 253 and UFC 254 will take place on Yas’ Fight Island.

After the huge success of the first pandemic-proof Fight Island festival back in July — which kicked off with UFC 251 and was followed by three further big Fight Nights — we were always fairly sure, we’d see big MMA battles back in Abu Dhabi soon.

And despite the fact that these fights will almost certainly again be spectatorless, this is a huge endorsement for Abu Dhabi and the UAE in general as a top location for hosting important sporting events.

UFC 253

Scheduled for September 23, the UFC 253 fight card promises some tantalising clashes. The headline fight will be a UFC Middleweight Championship bout between two undefeated fighters, current champion Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa.

This will only be the second time in UFC history two undefeated males will face off against eachother.

Elsewhere on the card we should see a contest for the currently unheld and ‘up-for-grabs’ Light Heavyweight Championship. Here, former title challenger Dominick Reyes will take on the former KSW Light Heavyweight Champion, Jan Błachowicz.

Also proposed for the night are: A featherweight bout between Hakeem Dawodu and Zubaira Tukhugov Flyweight; as well as a flyweight battle between Kai Kara-France and Brandon Rovyal.

UFC 254

But the truly exciting news is the potential UFC 254 card. As long as everyone proposed for the fight, stays fit, travels and makes weight — this could go down in history as one of the championship’s biggest ever nights.

As Khabib Nurmagomedov put it (and simultaneously lending legitimacy to the rumour he’ll be headling the fight) on his own Twitter account, it’s a “card full of killers”. 

You might also like

Breaking: Yas Island will host UFC's Fight Island in July
Confirmed: Red Hot Chili Peppers to play in Abu Dhabi for UFC 242
What's On Lock In Family Edition is coming to Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

The Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje fight is something local fight fans will be getting very excited about. Russian-Muslim fighter Khabib enjoys huge support in the region, his dislike for trashtalk, cool, calm demeanour and respectful ways are rare, beautiful things in the world of MMA.

There’s also the fact he is one of the sport’s GOATs, 28 wins (20 of which were either knock out or submission), and zero losses.

And if we also get to see Tony Ferguson back in action, Rodriguez, Whittaker’s return to the island, Poirier, Zabit, Cannonier, Makhachev and Dos Anjos. Wow, what a wonderful card it could be.

Images: Getty/Provided