The UFC has officially announced its return to Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, on September 7. The announcement stated that the UFC will hold a number of events in Abu Dhabi over the next five years as it came to a “groundbreaking new partnership” with the city’s Department of Culture and Tourism. You can read more about the UFC’s deal here.
UFC 242 will be the first time the Octagon has landed in Abu Dhabi since UFC Fight Night 39 back in April 2014, when Roy Nelson knocked out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the main event. UFC 242 will be the second time the promotion has held a pay-per-view event in Abu Dhabi following UFC 112 back in April 201, the night Frankie Edgar took the UFC lightweight title from BJ Penn.
The UFC has not officially announced any bouts for UFC 242, but rumors continue to swirl about a big title fight headlining the card. Rumors out there point to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov attempting to unify his title with interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. That fight makes a lot of sense considering Nurmagomedov’s Muslim background, and the timeframe is ideal due to the champ taking the summer off for Ramadan.
The UFC returning to Abu Dhabi is obviously a good thing for the promotion as this five-year deal will no doubt bring a lot of extra money to the UFC’s coffers. It remains to be seen if the fighters are going to get any share of that, but the fact the UFC continues to hold events around the world is a good thing as it will give local fighters from the Middle East presumably the chance to sign with the UFC and fight inside the Octagon. We don’t have any rumors of who else will be fighting on the card, but you can bet that fighters with a Middle Eastern or Muslim background will be booked for this event.
In addition to the announcement of UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi, there are rumors out there that the UFC will head to Australia in October for the middleweight title unification bout between champion Robert Whittaker and interim champ Israel Adesanya. It seemed like originally the plan was for those two to fight in September, but the timing has made it so that fight is likely going to take place in October. That’s also a good thing for Jack Hermansson, who has been asking to headline the UFC’s return to Copenhagen, also in October, as the timeline of that would give him the best opportunity to fight the winner of that bout.
With UFC 242 being announced for September, we now have confirmation there will be another pay-per-view in July after UFC 239, plus one more in August, as the UFC has to make up for the cancellation of UFC 233 back in January.
Remember to stay tuned to MMAOB for the latest news and updates for UFC Abu Dhabi and all of the promotion’s other events as new fights continue to be announced almost everyday in what is shaping up to be a very busy 2019.