UFC has set up shop on Yas Island, a tourist destination in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for a month-long series of events dubbed UFC Fight Island.
While UFC has already held events in Las Vegas and Jacksonville since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States in March, moving the competition to a private land in Abu Dhabi will help international fighters circumvent travel and visa restrictions.
A total of four UFC events are scheduled to take place on Fight Island through July 25 before the league returns to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas in August. However, UFC President Dana White told the Associated Press that UFC could return to Yas Island for more events later this year.
The UFC campus spans six square miles and includes training and medical facilities for fighters and staff. Fans will not be in attendance for UFC 251 or any other 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.
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 four events will be streamed live on ESPN+, which costs $4.99 per month of $49.99 per year. The main event of UFC 251, featuring this month’s highest profile matches, will 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.
Here’s the rundown of events happening on UFC Fight Island this month, and how you can watch:
July 11 — UFC 251
Kamaru Usman will defend the welterweight championship against 2019 Fighter of the Year Jorge Masvidal; while Alexander Volkanovski will face Max Holloway in a featherweight championship rematch.
Usman will enter the ring for his second title defense with a 15-fight win streak. Masvidal replaced top-ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns in the main event of UFC 251 with just six days notice after Burns tested positive for COVID-19.
Early prelims for UFC 251 will start at 6 p.m. ET, while the main event starts at 10 p.m. ET. The main event requires an ESPN+ subscription and will cost an additional $64.99 to watch. You can find out more about how to stream UFC 251 with our full breakdown.
July 15 — UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Ige
Featherweight contenders Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige headline a list of mid-rank fighters looking to work their way up the roster. Several of the fights planned for this UFC Fight Night were previously planned for other events, but were forcibly rescheduled to due COVID-19 related concerns.
Preliminary matches will begin at 7 p.m. ET and the main card will get under way at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and the ESPN cable channel.
July 18 — UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez
Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez will fight for the vacant UFC Flyweight Championship in a rematch of a February 29 fight. Figueiredo won that match via TKO, but he weighed in at 127.5lbs, making him ineligible to become the flyweight champion.
Figueiredo agreed to a rematch with Benavidez because he missed the agreed upon weight for their first fight. Now either fighter has another chance to win the vacant title, though the 18-1 Figueiredo remains the favorite.
This UFC Fight Night event is set to stream exclusively on ESPN+, with prelims starting at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT and the main event starting at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT.
July 25 — UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Till
Top middleweight contender Robert Whittaker returns to the ring against fifth-ranked Darren Till in the most jam-packed fight card of the month. UFC currently has 14 fights scheduled for the evening, with the action kicking off at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN+.