UFC 294 and the fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week will take place at the Etihad Arena.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
UFC has announced on Thursday its return to Abu Dhabi for UFC 294 on Saturday, October 21, as the world’s best mixed martial artists face off once again at the Etihad Arena.
UFC 294 will be the latest event to be held in the UAE capital as part of a landmark partnership, launched in 2019, between the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
The UFC 294 fight card is yet to be announced, but the event will be headlined by a highly anticipated championship title bout. Last year, a sold-out Etihad Arena witnessed Islam Makhachev become the lightweight champion, when he defeated Charles Oliveira via second round stoppage at UFC 280.
UFC 294 will mark the 18th event UFC has held in Abu Dhabi since UFC 112 in 2010, when legend Anderson Silva squared off against Brazilian compatriot Demian Maia. Since then, some of the biggest names in MMA have performed in the UAE capital including Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Israel Adesanya, and Khamzat Chimaev.
Abu Dhabi was also a key partner for UFC during the pandemic, enabling the organisation to host events on the bio-secure ‘Fight Island’, while most sports around the rest of the world were suspended.
Twelve UFC events took place in Abu Dhabi from July 2020 to January 2021 in a move that kept fighters active and fans entertained during those unprecedented times.
UFC President Dana White said: “Everybody knows how much I love Abu Dhabi and the people there, so we are excited to be returning with another amazing card for UFC 294 this October. Abu Dhabi has been such an important part of the UFC’s overall business for years, and we have seen some incredible events during that time. We have some big plans in store for UFC 294, and I can’t wait for another insane night of fights in October.”
Saleh Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi, promised a memorable UFC 294 event: “Abu Dhabi and UFC have a deep and trusted partnership dating back more than a decade. We understand the passion and desire of fans in the region for world-class events and together we constantly strive to deliver fight cards that appeal to as wide an audience as possible. UFC 294 and the fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Showdown will be memorable, and we look forward to announcing the fight card in the coming months.”