LAS VEGAS/ABU DHABI: Premier mixed martial arts return to Abu Dhabi with UFC 281 at the Etihad Arena on October 22, with a title bout scheduled, it has been confirmed by the organizers.
The UFC and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism on Friday announced the return of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, the third event of a five-year partnership.
With the UFC hosting the first full-capacity event in London this week, the return to Abu Dhabi continues the organization’s expansion following the pandemic.
While Abu Dhabi has been the home to international UFC events over the pandemic, UFC 281 will mark the first time a show can take place without previous restrictions — since UFC 242: Khabib vs Poirier in September 2019. The showdown week will have concerts, workshops, pool parties and city-wide events featuring some of the UFC’s biggest stars.
“(The) UFC and Abu Dhabi Showdown Week are massively popular and almost permanent fixtures on our Abu Dhabi Calendar,” said Fatima Al-Baloushi, acting director of Abu Dhabi events bureau, at the department of culture and tourism. “We strive to deliver the world’s best fighters and we are excited to bring yet another thrilling title bout to Abu Dhabi in October. We look forward to welcoming fans from around the world and showing them why Abu Dhabi is the ultimate UFC destination.”
UFC President Dana White expressed his delight at returning to the UAE capital.
“I can’t wait to bring another event back to Abu Dhabi,” he said. “Every time we go there the events get bigger and better, and this year we are going all out and bringing back Abu Dhabi Showdown Week in addition to more incredible fights. Fans are not going to want to miss this one.”
The organization’s first event with expanded fan capacity in the new Etihad Arena on Yas Island was UFC 267: Blachowicz vs Teixeira in October 2021. Earlier in 2021, the venue had hosted UFC 257 as part of the third instalment of the Fight Island series, with limited fan capacity.
UFC 281 will mark the promotion’s 17th overall event in Abu Dhabi, dating back to UFC 112: Invincible in April 2010. Abu Dhabi has hosted nine title fights with three new champions crowned.