Belal Muhammad and Sean Brady set for intriguing welterweight bout at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi

UFC returns to the capital in October with another numbered event at Etihad Arena on Yas Island

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A bout between fast-rising welterweights Belal Muhammad and Sean Brady is the first reported match-up set for the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi later this year.

The contest, initially reported by ESPN, is understood to have been added to UFC 280 – formerly UFC 281 – the pay-per-view event that takes place on October 22 at Etihad Arena on Yas Island. The UFC has yet to confirm any bouts on the card.

However, Muhammad, who has fought in Abu Dhabi before, appeared to confirm the match-up with Brady on social media at the weekend. The No 5-ranked welterweight, who is unbeaten in his past eight fights – seven wins and one No Contest – has made no secret of his desire to compete in the capital, telling The National in January that he would love to fight for the championship there in October.

“Honestly, it’ll be a dream come true,” Muhammad said. “It’s one of those things you’re always thinking about: 'I’m going to win the title, I’m going to be champion, but how can I be champion and where can I be champion?' And if it was over there in Abu Dhabi it’d be amazing.”

Muhammad, whose professional mixed martial arts record reads 21-3, has fond memories of Abu Dhabi having earned a submission triumph there against Takashi Sato at UFC 242 in September 2019. In his most recent UFC outing, in April, the American defeated Vicente Luque in Las Vegas via unanimous decision.

Meanwhile, Brady is to this point unbeaten in the pro ranks (15-0), with his last victory coming in November against Michael Chiesa. The unanimous decision win lifted his record within the UFC to five victories from five. Brady is the division’s No 9-ranked contender.

Both fighters, who have exchanged jabs on social media, will hope success in Abu Dhabi would lead to a title shot. Current champion Kamaru Usman defends his welterweight crown against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 next month.

UFC 280 represents the promotion’s first event in the capital since October last year. It marks the conclusion to Abu Dhabi Showdown Week.

Updated: July 12, 2022, 3:01 PM