Abu Dhabi's Yas Island set to host UFC 251, three Fight Night events in July

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist

UFC 251 will be held on July 11 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and will include three title fights.

A welterweight match between Kamaru Usman and No. 1 contender Gilbert Burns is the main event. A rematch between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway is the co-main, and a bout between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title is also on the main card.

The UFC president told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday that a women’s flyweight bout between former champions Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade will be on UFC 251, as will a bout between Amanda Ribas and Paige VanZant. The pay-per-view card will be held at the same time in the U.S. as it normally is, with a 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT start.

In other big news, White said the rubber match between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and No. 1 contender Daniel Cormier will be on Aug. 15 in Las Vegas as the main event of UFC 252.

A general view of the Octagon during UFC 242 at The Arena on Sept. 7, 2019, in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC will spend the entire month of July on Fight Island. White said only people associated with the UFC event will be on the island and that there will be no one else within 10 square miles.

“These are the only guys who could pull this off and do it this quick,” White said. “What they are doing is incredible. They are creating this safety zone where we’re walled off from everyone. There will be a hotel, restaurants, training facilities, the fight venue, everything. This is going to be incredible.”

White said after the July 11 pay-per-view, there will be Fight Night cards on July 15, July 18 and July 25. White said he does not have fights that are slated on those, but he listed a series of bouts he expects to be on those shows, including ex-middleweight champion Robert Whittaker versus Darren Till; Jack Hermanson versus Kelvin Gastelum, Fabricio Werdum versus Alexander Gustafsson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira against Shogun Rua.

He said title fights between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Paolo Costa and a lightweight fight between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje are also in the works.

“It’s going to be a bad-ass summer, my friend,” White said. “These are ridiculous, very important fights and we made it happen. We got it done.”

White said he doesn’t expect to have to be quarantined after returning to the U.S. from Abu Dhabi.

“A lot of the stuff that is coming out about [the coronavirus pandemic] is turning out to be bulls---, so I think by then, things will have loosened up,” he said.

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