It’s not long now until the inaugural UFC Fight Island, with the fighters and other international delegates beginning to arrive in Abu Dhabi ahead of this month’s historic event.
And judging by this batch of pictures, taken earlier this week and obtained by The National, it's shaping up rather well.
The four-event series in Abu Dhabi gets under way on Yas Island with UFC 251 on July 12 and continues with shows on July 16, 19 and 26. A 25-kilometre "safe zone" has been created to contain everyone connected to Fight Island until the final event, and was officially UFC ready from Friday.
From that point on, only Fight Island’s international delegates - fighters, UFC staff, etc - will be able to come into what is effectively a Covid-19-free “bubble”. The first UFC flight touched down in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The W Abu Dhabi - the hotel that will house the fighters and UFC staff - and Yas Links golf club have been kitted out in UFC and Fight Island branding.
Meanwhile, the octagon on the beach, which went viral last Sunday when the promotion's president Dana White posted a sneak peek on social media, appears all set to feature throughout the next month. It boasts a pretty tempting backdrop: the Arabian Gulf.
All events take place at Flash Forum next to Yas Plaza, however given the current public health guidelines, no fans will be permitted to attend.
The opening event, UFC 251, was set to host three of the four title bouts contested at Fight Island, but news emerged early on Saturday that the headline encounter between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns was off after the challenger tested positive for Covid-19 before leaving for the UAE.