UFC Fight Island Revealed, League Announces Four July Events in Abu Dhabi
Posted on: June 9, 2020, 12:10h.
Last updated on: June 9, 2020, 12:37h.
UFC Fight Island is real. The disclosed venue is in Abu Dhabi and will be used for four events next month, beginning with UFC 251, headlined by Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns in a welterweight title bout.
After more than two months of speculation, UFC President Dana White revealed that Fight Island is on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
We came up with the idea of having fights on Fight Island because we needed a destination to hold international events during the global pandemic. The infrastructure we are building will be such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the fighters that’s never been done before – from the arena, the private training facility, and the Octagon on the island – it’s going to be an experience that none of us will ever forget. I can’t wait,” White explained.
UFC 251 goes down July 11 on Fight Island. There will be three championship bouts. Along with Usman vs. Burns, Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway will battle for the featherweight belt, and Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo will clash in the bantamweight class.
The last UFC fight in Abu Dhabi was UFC 242 in September 2019, headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier. Khabib won in the third round by submission in a rear-naked choke. Khabib was the heavy favorite at -450, bettors winning just $22.22 for every $100 wagered.
UFC 251 Odds
The Westgate SuperBook opened lines soon after White revealed the Fight Island location and card for UFC 251.
In the headliner, Usman (16-1) is favored to defend his welterweight belt at -210, and Burns (19-3) the underdog at +180. Usman hasn’t lost a UFC fight since May 2013, and he’s never been knocked out.
In the featherweight title rematch (Volkanovski beat Holloway at UFC 245 in Las Vegas last December), Volkanovski (21-1) is the favorite at -170. Hollow is the dog at +150.
And in the vacant bantamweight title match, Yan (14-1) opens as the largest favorite of the three championship fights at -300. Aldo is the underdog at +250.
Along with the UFC announcing Fight Island, White said the trilogy fight between heavyweights Stipe Miocic (19-3) and Daniel Cormier (22-2) will go down August 15.
Oddsmakers nearly have it at even money, Miocic a slight favorite at -125 (implied odds 55.56 percent), and Cormier a slight underdog at +105 (implied odds 48.78 percent).
White said the location is yet to be determined, but “the trilogy with those two great heavyweights will happen.”
This one is for all the marbles,” said Cormier. “1-1, both knockouts, but great fights, I can’t wait to fight this dude again!! Now it’s time to work as hard as I ever trained.”
The UFC is moving forward without its biggest name: Conor McGregor. The Notorious announced his retirement last weekend. White disclosed today that the Irishman was offered a chance to fight at UFC 249 last month but he said he wasn’t interested.
The UFC had to replace lightweight champ Khabib because of the coronavirus keeping him in his native Russia. Justin Gaethje stepped in on short notice and upset Tony Ferguson for the right to challenge Khabib.
White said McGregor told the UFC he’s “not a replacement fighter.”
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