Abu Dhabi to host UFC 294 in October

World’s leading mixed martial arts promotion will host its latest event at Etihad Arena on October 21

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Arena will host UFC 294 on October 21, 2023. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The UFC will make its return to Abu Dhabi this October with UFC 294, it was confirmed on Thursday.

The world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, which has a long-standing partnership with the capital, will host its latest event in the emirate at the Etihad Arena on October 21. It will form part of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, which runs from October 16-22.

The UFC’s most recent fight night in the emirate was held last October, with the sold-out UFC 280. As of yet, no bouts have been confirmed for UFC 294, although a statement released on Thursday said the card will be headlined by a “highly anticipated championship title bout".

In the statement, UFC president Dana White said: “Everybody knows how much I love Abu Dhabi and the people there, so we are excited to be returning with another amazing card for UFC 294 this October.

“Abu Dhabi has been such an important part of the UFC’s overall business for years, and we have seen some incredible events during that time. We have some big plans in store for UFC 294, and I can’t wait for another insane night of fights in October.”

Part of the five-year agreement signed in 2019 between the UFC and the Departure of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, UFC 294 will represent the 18th UFC event staged in the capital since the emirate’s inaugural fight night in 2010, when Anderson Silva headlined against Demian Maia.

Abu Dhabi was also host - from July 2020 to January 2021 - to Fight Island, a bio-secure area on Yas Island that allowed the UFC to put on major events during the pandemic. In all, it comprised 12 events, and featured some of the most prominent names in the sport including Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman.

Saleh Al Geziry, director general for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi, said in Thursday's statement: “Abu Dhabi and UFC have a deep and trusted partnership dating back more than a decade. We understand the passion and desire of fans in the region for world-class events and together we constantly strive to deliver fight cards that appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

"UFC 294 and the fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week will be memorable, and we look forward to announcing the fight card in the coming months.”

Fans can register their interest at: visitabudhabi.ae

Updated: March 16, 2023, 11:42 AM