When is UFC 253 and who is fighting? All you need to know about Fight Island 2's first event
Adesanya’s middleweight title defence against Costa headlines the show in Abu Dhabi
The UFC has returned to Abu Dhabi, with its second Fight Island series getting under way this Sunday and featuring one of the most eagerly anticipated fights of the year. Here’s the details.
What is it?
UFC 253, the latest pay-per-view instalment in the world’s lead mixed martial arts promotion. The event is the first of five on Fight Island 2, the UFC’s second residency in the capital. It follows on from this summer’s hugely successful inaugural run.
While July featured four events, opened by UFC 251, this will comprise five, and is bookended by two pay-per-view shows: UFC 253 and UFC 254. The Fight Island concept was created in response to the coronavirus crisis, allowing the UFC’s international athletes to compete during the pandemic.
The promotion has a strong relationship with Abu Dhabi, underlined by a five-year agreement signed last year between the two parties.
When is it?
September 27. The early prelims kick off at 3am UAE time, the prelims at 4am, and main card at 6am.
Where is it?
Once more, Fight Island will be housed in a designated “safe zone” on Yas Island. The zone is open only to fighters, coaches, UFC staff and other personnel deemed necessary to the operation. For the inaugural series, all events took place at Flash Forum. In accordance with public health guidelines, no fans will be allowed to attend the events.
Who is fighting?
Israel Adesanya’s middleweight title defence against Paulo Costa, the No 2-ranked challenger, headlines. Both men are undefeated, with 19-0 and 13-0 records, respectively. It marks only the second time in UFC history, and the first time since 2009, that two undefeated men will go head-to-head for a belt. Dana White, the promotion's president, has tipped this clash to be fight of the year.
The card’s second title fight features Dominick Reyes (12-1) and Jan Blachowicz (26-8) contesting the vacant light heavyweight crown following Jon Jones’ decision last month to relinquish it.
Elsewhere, the popular Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1) returns to the octagon for the first time since February, when he recorded his first victory in three fights to take his UFC record to 4-1-1.
The Russian, a training partner and friend of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, faces in-form Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1), who rides a four-fight winning streak after losing on UFC debut.
Full Card *subject to change
Israel Adesanya v Paulo Costa (middleweight title fight)
Dominick Reyes v Jan Blachowicz (light heavyweight title fight)
Kai Kara France v Brandon Royval (flyweight)
Ketlen Vieira v Sijara Eubanks (bantamweight)
Hakeem Dawodu v Zubaira Tukhugov (featherweight)
Brad Riddell v Alex da Silva (lightweight)
Diego Sanchez v Jake Matthews (welterweight)
Shane Young v Nate Landwehr (featherweight)
William Knight v Aleksa Camur (light heavyweight)
Juan Espino v Jeff Hughes (heavyweight)
Khadis Ibragimov v Danilo Marques (light heavyweight)
How to watch in UAE
Fight fans can watch all the action through the UFC Arabia app, while AD Sports TV will provide prelims coverage.
Yas Island's transformation for Fight Island 1
Updated: September 21, 2020 02:57 PM