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- UFC is running a series of events at a private island campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, dubbed UFC Fight Island.
- Holding the events at a private destination enables UFC to implement ideal safety measures against COVID-19 and allows international fighters to circumvent travel restrictions and visa issues.
- UFC 253 kicked off the return to Fight Island with a middleweight championship match, and the next event will take place on October 3.
- You can stream all UFC Fight Island matches live on ESPN+, and some of the action will also be available on the ESPN cable channel.
UFC has returned to Yas Island, a tourist destination in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for another month-long series of events at the private campus the organization has dubbed “UFC Fight Island.”
While COVID-19 has forced UFC to hold most of its events at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, hosting events at UFC Fight Island helps international fighters circumvent travel and visa restrictions imposed by the pandemic. The UFC successfully held four events on Fight Island in July, including a welterweight championship bout between Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman.
The UFC Fight Island campus spans six square miles and includes training and medical facilities for fighters and staff. Fans will not be in attendance for any UFC Fight Island events due to the pandemic. According to the AP, about 2,000 people are working under UFC’s Fight Island quarantine bubble.
In July, UFC President Dana White shared a video showing a map of the facility and the precautions needed to get Fight Island up and running. UFC has implemented at least 18 different safety precautions during the pandemic, including advanced medical screenings, regular testing, temperature checks, and social distancing guidelines.
All UFC Fight Island events will be streamed live on ESPN+, which costs $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year. The main cards of UFC 253 and UFC 254, which feature Fight Island’s most high profile matches, cost an additional $64.99 to watch.
You can access the ESPN+ app on all major mobile devices and smart TVs, including Amazon Fire, Apple, Android, Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, Roku, Samsung products, and more.
Below, we’ve detailed all of the events happening on UFC Fight Island in September and October, and how you can watch.
Updated on 10/2/2020 by Kevin Webb: We’ve update this article to include results from UFC 253.
September 26 — UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa
Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa fought for UFC’s middleweight championship in the main event of UFC 253.
Both fighters entered the match undefeated — Adesanya had already established himself as one of UFC’s most dominant champions in 2019, defeating UFC legends Anderson Silva and Robert Whittaker to claim the belt. Costa had a reputation as one of UFC’s most powerful fighters, earning knockouts in 11 of his 13 career matches.
Adesanya ultimately prevailed in dominating fashion, knocking out Costa early in the second round of their fight with a combination of strikes.
October 3 — UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana
As a former women’s bantamweight champion, Holly Holm has secured her place as a veteran within the division, but Irene Aldana is looking to work her way up the ranks to current champion Amanda Nunes.
Holm and Aldana were originally scheduled to meet at an August UFC Fight Night, but their match will now headline an event on Fight Island. Aldana tested positive for the coronavirus in July, leading to the fight being postponed until October.
Aldana earned Performance of the Night honors for her first-round knockout of Ketlen Vieira at UFC 245; while Holm won a unanimous decision against Raquel Pennington at UFC 246.
October 10 — UFC Fight Night: Moraes vs. Sandhagen
Top-ranked bantamweight fighter Marlon Moraes contracted the coronavirus in July but that won’t stop him from competing at UFC Fight Island in October. Moraes’ last fight was in December 2019, a win over former featherweight champion José Aldo.
Cory Sandhagen had a seven-fight win streak before suffering a first round submission loss to Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250 in June. He remains the fourth-ranked fighter in the division and could challenge for the championship if he defeats Moraes in October.
October 17 — UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Jung
Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung will meet in the main event of this UFC Fight Night event nine months after they were originally scheduled to fight in Jung’s home country of South Korea.
Time hasn’t cooled the rivalry between the two fighters though; Ortega was kicked out of UFC 248 in March after he hit Jung’s translator and friend Jay Park in the face during the event. Ortega, Park, and Jung were all attending UFC 248 as spectators, and it’s unclear what sparked Ortega’s attack on Park.
Ortega hasn’t fought since losing against Max Holloway in a featherweight championship fight in December 2018.
October 24 — UFC 254: Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje
The main event of UFC 254 is a unification bout between UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Interim Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje. Gaethje claimed the title with a victory over Tony Ferguson in May after travel restrictions prevented Nurmagomedov from competing.
The main event marks UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s first match of 2020.
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