The UFC makes its latest stop in Abu Dhabi this month, with a UFC 267 on Yas Island that includes two title bouts. Here’s the lowdown.
What is it?
The latest pay-per-view event from the world’s lead mixed martial arts organisation. UFC 267 is topped by Jan Blachowicz’s light-heavyweight title defence against Glover Teixeira, the No 1-ranked contender. In the night’s other championship clash, former bantamweight belt-holder Petr Yan takes on Cory Sandhagen, a late replacement for current champion Aljamain Sterling, in an interim title fight. UFC 267 marks the conclusion to the second Abu Dhabi Showdown Week.
When is it?
Saturday October 30. The prelims kick off at 6.30pm, with the main card at 10pm UAE.
Where is it?
Etihad Arena. The arena opened officially with UFC in January, the promotion’s third Fight Island series in the capital.
The extended main card features six bouts. As said, Blachowicz’s second title defence headlines, with the powerful Pole looking to keep hold of the belt he captured last September against Dominick Reyes at UFC 253, also in Abu Dhabi. Blachowicz, who has since defended successfully against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, takes on the extremely durable Teixeira, who sits as the division’s top-ranked challenger.
That clash follows the bantamweight interim title bout between Yan and Sandhagen. Yan had originally been slated to face Sterling in a rematch of their March encounter, when the American was awarded the belt after Yan was disqualified for an intentional illegal knee. However, Sterling was forced to pull out as he continues his recovery from neck surgery. Thus, No 3-ranked contender Sandhagen stepped in on short notice. Both Yan and Sandhagen have previously competed in Abu Dhabi.
Elsewhere on the card, Islam Makhachev goes up against Dan Hooker in a hugely anticipated bout, which also features a late stand-in. Makhachev, who rides an eight-fight win streak, was scheduled to fight former champion Rafael Dos Anjos, only for the Brazilian to withdraw through injury. Hooker, fresh off last week’s unanimous decision victory against Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266, agreed to the match-up - to his immense credit. Makhachev is viewed by many as a future lightweight champion.
Also, Khamzat Chimaev makes his eagerly awaited comeback against fellow welterweight Li Jingliang. The unbeaten Chechen burst onto the UFC scene at the inaugural Fight Island last year, but has not competed in more than a year because of complications resulting from contracting Covid-19. The Sweden-based athlete boasts a professional mixed martial arts record of 9-0 (3-0 in UFC).
Meanwhile, heavyweight contenders Alexander Volkov and Marcin Tybura go head-to-head, as do ranked light heavyweights Magomed Ankalaev and Volkan Oezdemir, to round off the main card.
Full Card *subject to change
Jan Blachowicz (c) v Glover Teixeira (light heavyweight title)
Petr Yan v Cory Sandhagen (bantamweight interim title)
Islam Makhachev v Dan Hooker (lightweight)
Alexander Volkov v Marcin Tybura (heavyweight)
Li Jingliang v Khamzat Chimaev (welterweight)
Magomed Ankalaev v Volkan Oezdemir (light heavyweight)
Virna Jandiroba v Amanda Ribas (women’s strawweight)
Ricardo Ramos v Zubaira Tukhugov (featherweight)
Albert Duraev v Roman Kopylov (middleweight)
Shamil Gamzatov v Michal Oleksiejczuk (light heavyweight)
Makwan Amirkhani v Lerone Murphy (featherweight)
Alen Amedovski v Hu Yaozong (middleweight)
Damir Ismagulov v Magomed Mustafaev (lightweight)
Allan Nascimento v Tagir Ulanbekov (flyweight)