The event will include a week of “city-wide activations”…

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has confirmed this evening that the world-renowned mixed martial arts outfit, UFC will be returning to Abu Dhabi for a week of events, culminating in UFC 267 on October 30, 2021 — the fight card for which, has not yet been announced.

The bulk of events are set to once again take place around the glittering events jewel in the Yas Bay championship belt, Etihad Arena. With “city-wide events” occurring as part of a Showdown Week.

Talking about the news, UFC head honcho Dana White said “Abu Dhabi is incredible – I love that place and the people. I have been talking about all of the things we are working on. I plan on getting all the deals buttoned up this summer. I can’t wait to go back and share everything we are working on together.”

Opening to tourists

DCT Abu Dhabi said that “as Abu Dhabi gradually reopens to welcome tourists once again” hinting that there might be further softening of entry restrictions on international tourists into the emirate.

Speaking about access for live spectators, HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director, Tourism and Marketing, at DCT Abu Dhabi said: “Following the success of the previous Fight Island editions, the ultimate goal was always to bring back fans, and with hard work, collaboration and coordination across Abu Dhabi government entities, public and private sectors and our UFC partners, we will be able to achieve this once again, allowing fans to experience the thrill of live events once again in a safe and secure environment, which remains our utmost priority.”

The final showdown

The news came with the announcement that the UFC touring bus will return with a “Showdown Week”.

And that is very exciting news indeed. The last Showdown Week was back in 2019, which included a wild schedule of entertainment, leisure, fitness and musical events, including a concert by Red Hot Chili Peppers; meal deals; viewing parties; beach parties; rain parties and more all leading up to the main event of UFC 242, where sporting GOAT, Khabib Nurmagomedov put down Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier to retain the UFC Lightweight belt.

Will we see the same sort of entertainment extravaganza this time round, A-List music concerts et al? Possibly. That information was not part of the opening announcement, but there was confirmation that Showdown week will include “fan events, fitness showcases and much more”.

Who is likely to be fighting?

Disclaimer: Nothing has yet been confirmed, what follows is all wild (if informed) speculation.

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The deferred Light Heavyweight UFC 266 clash between Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira is probably a fair pick for a likely headline event. We could also be treated to a UFC 259 rematch between Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan, where Yan was disqualified (for an illegal knee to the head), verbal agreements are said to be in place.

A Women’s Straweight fight between Virna Jandiroba vs. Amanda Ribas has also been discussed, as too has a thrilling return for undefeated Welterweight Khamzat Chimaev who is likely to take on Li Jingliang.

Stay with What’s On for confrimation on these and all the other fight card head-to-heads.

How can I watch it?

You can register your interest for getting hold of those hot tickets now on the website. Those who sign up will get an early heads up for when the event admissions go on sale.

Viewers in the UAE can catch UFC content on Abu Dhabi Sports and via streaming service UFC Arabia.

Images: Provided