UAE Warriors set to stage back-to-back fight cards for the first time

Zayed Sports City to host UAE Warriors Arabia on Friday and the international version 24 hours later

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The UAE Warriors is set to stage back-to-back fight cards for the first time in its history this week.

Friday sees UAE Warriors 17: Arabia 2 kick-off in the octagon followed by the international version – UAE Warriors 18 – 24 hours later, both at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.

Headlining the international card is the bantamweight title showdown between Xavier Alaoui, the Moroccan residing in Canada, and Vinicius de Oliveira of Brazil.

Both fighters have each won two bouts at the Warriors: Alaoui secured two unanimous decisions, while Vinicius won via one first-round knockout and a unanimous points verdict.

Fouad Darwish, managing director of Palms Sports, said the objective of staging back-to-back fight cards was to incorporate more competitors into the Warriors family.

“We are receiving fighting and fighter requests on a daily basis,” he said at the launch ceremony on Tuesday.

“We have the capability ... I can assure three to four fight nights without any problem.

“We should be able to bring this as a norm; if not back-to-back, it can be on a Friday and another two or three days later. We like the format and the reception we receive would certainly encourage us to do it.”

The international fight card consists of 13 contests that also include a women's flyweight contest between Corinne Laframboise of Canada and Sweden's Malin Hermansson.

Laframboise is returning for her third fight in the UAE Warriors. She made a winning start in the organisation’s 10th event in January 2020 against Cornelia Holm but lost to Manon Fiorot of France (TKO in the third round) in Warriors 12.

“My last fight was a war,” Laframboise, one of the first fighters to arrive for the UAE Warriors 18, said.

“I had a nice surgery to my nose. I had to take time out to recover and feel a lot better. I’m happy to be back in the cage with the current pandemic situation and the travel restrictions.

“I’m glad to be back in the octagon and show my new skills that I have been training on. I want to put on a good show as usual.”

The Arabia version is made up of 14 fights and include four Emiratis – Mohammed Yahya and Abdullah Mohammad Ali in the lightweight, and Mohammed Al Katheeri and Yousef Al Housani in the featherweight.

Al Housani, undefeated in two appearances, will face Jordanian Faris Asha while Al Katheeri is making his debut against Egyptian Mostafa Elhamy.

Ali, who has a 2-2 win/loss record, takes on Egyptian Medhat Hussein, and Yahya, the most experienced of the quartet with an 8-3 record, fights Jordanian Saleem Al Bakri, undefeated in two appearances.