ABU DHABI: Just eight days before Abu Dhabi hosts UFC 280: Oliveira versus Makhachev on Oct. 22, the UAE capital will feature the second Mixed Martial Arts Youth Championship at Zayed Sports City’s Jiu-Jitsu Arena.
This Friday’s event will see male and female fighters from the UAE contest a number of divisions in the second round of the championship, after the first tournament at the Etihad Arena one month ago.
The city is set to witness high-profile combat sports action as the annual Abu Dhabi Showdown Week — climaxing with the headline title fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev — kicks off on Monday.
Given the rapidly growing popularity of MMA in the emirates, Friday’s youth event is likely to represent the ideal precursor, attracting a host of officials, MMA stars of past and present, and representatives from the international organizations that oversee it.
“This second MMA Youth Championship arrives in the city at the ideal time,” said Mohammed bin Dalmouj Al-Dhaheri, head of the UAE MMA Committee. “Abu Dhabi Showdown Week is around the corner and some of the sport’s most prominent names are coming to the capital, so this is the perfect precursor.”
Al-Dhaheri, who was recently chosen as the Asian MMA Association’s first vice-president, said as many as 30 potential MMA judges will also receive accreditation certificates from the International MMA Federation and the UAE MMA Federation during a special session that will be held in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Showdown Week. Renowned UFC referee and IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs Marc Goddard will oversee the session.
Mohammed Al-Hosani, board member of the UAE MMA committee, added: “The second MMA Youth Championship is expected to feature 20 fights, including featured fights for each category. We have some interesting and surprising announcements to make in the next few days regarding the development of MMA in the country.”