On Sunday, the UFC brings down the curtain on its inaugural Fight Island with UFC Fight Night 3 taking place in Abu Dhabi. Here’s the details.
What is it?
UFC Fight Night 3, the fourth and final event of the world's lead mixed martial arts organisation to be staged this month on Yas Island. It follows the hugely successful opening UFC 251 on July 12, and two other shows on July 16 and last Sunday. Fight Island was created by the UFC initially to allow its international athletes to compete during the coronavirus pandemic. Originally expected to be a one-off series, UFC president Dana White says the organisation will continue to host its international fighters in the capital.
When is it?
Sunday July 26, from 1am. Main card starts at 4am.
Where is it?
Flash Forum, which has been redesigned to stage the UFC this month. Because of the public health guidelines in place, the event takes place with no paying spectators in attendance. Flash Forum sits inside the UFC "safe zone", an 11-kilometre stretch open only to those connected with the running of Fight Island. The safe zone is said to house around 2,000 people.
Who is fighting?
The final roster is absolutely packed with talent, with 15 scheduled fights tying the record for most bouts on a single UFC card. Fight Night 3 is headlined by Robert Whittaker's eagerly anticipated clash with the dangerous Darren Till, in a middleweight match-up that pits against one another the former champion and a serious title contender.
Whittaker, the No 1-ranked challenger in the division, has not fought since losing his belt to Israel Adesanya last October, while Till proved a move up in weight class was no obstacle by defeating Kelvin Gastelum a month later. Whoever wins on Sunday is expected to get a title shot next.
In the co-main event, light-heavyweight luminaries Shogun Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira close out their famous trilogy with a third meeting – 15 years after the first. Former champion Rua is 2-0 up, with Nogueira confirming on Tuesday that this will be his final fight in the UFC.
Elsewhere on the card, Swede Alexander Gustafsson makes his long-awaited comeback by jumping up to the heavyweight division against former title-holder Fabricio Werdum, while former strawweight champion Carla Esparza attempts to inflict Marina Rodriguez’s first defeat.
And look out for the fast-rising Khamzat Chimaev, who’s seeking to set a record for fastest back-to-back UFC wins. The Swedish resident made his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 1 on July 16, dominating John Phillips at middleweight. He moves down to welterweight on Sunday to take on newcomer Rhys McKee.
Full fight card (subject to change):
Robert Whittaker v Darren Till
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira v Mauricio Rua
Alexander Gustafsson v Fabricio Werdum
Carla Esparza v Marina Rodriguez
Gadzhimurad Antigulov v Paul Craig
Alex Oliveira v Peter Sobotta
Khamzat Chimaev v Rhys McKee
Jai Herbert v Francisco Trinaldo
Nicolas Dalby v Jesse Ronson
Tom Aspinall v Jake Collier
Movsar Evloev v Mike Grundy
Tanner Boser v Raphael Pessoa
Bethe Correia v Pannie Kianzad
Ramazan Emeev v Niklas Stolze
John Castaneda v Nathaniel Wood
How to watch?
Fight fans in the UAE can catch the early action on Abu Dhabi Sports 2, with the main card available only through the UFC Arabia app.