UFC 253 is one of the biggest events on the combat sports calendar, but the location of the event has been a mystery until now. According a report from Brazilian combat sports publication AgFight, the card will go down on the UFC’s Fight Island—Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The UFC has promoted four events on Fight Island thus far, all in July, and it certainly makes sense that UFC 253 will be the fifth. The card features many international fighters who likely have a far easier time getting to Abu Dhabi than they would to Las Vegas.
UFC 253 will be headlined by a middleweight title fight between reigning champion Israel Adesanya of New Zealand and Brazilian challenger Paulo Costa. The pair, both undefeated, have exchanged plenty of trash talk over the last year, cultivating one of the most compelling rivalries in recent memory.
UFC 253 will also feature a light heavyweight title fight between Dominick Reyes of the USA and Poland’s Jan Blachowicz. The pair will battle for the division’s vacant throne after the long-time champion Jon Jones relinquished his light heavyweight belt in favor of a move up to the heavyweight division earlier this month.
Elsewhere on the UFC 253 lineup, we’ll witness appearances from a host of other international stars, such as Brazil’s Ketlen Vieira, New Zealand’s Kai Kara-France, Brazil’s Claudia Gadelha, China’s Yan Xiaonan, Russia’s Zubaira Tukhugov, and Australia’s Jake Matthews. With so many international fighters on the bill, and with travel being so difficult during the pandemic, it certainly makes makes sense for the promotion to move the event to Fight Island.
See the current lineup for the card below:
UFC 253 Fight Card:
185 lbs.: UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa
205 lbs.: Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz
135 lbs.: Marion Reneau vs. Ketlen Vieira
125 lbs.: Kai Kara-France vs. Brandon Royval
115 lbs.: Claudia Gadelha vs. Yan Xiaonan
170 lbs.: Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Matthews
145 lbs.: Hakeem Dawodu vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
135 lbs.: Sarah Alpar vs. Jessica-Rose Clark
135 lbs.: Randy Costa vs. Journey Newson
145 lbs.: Mirsad Bektic vs. Eduardo Garagorri
Which fights on the UFC 253 lineup are you most excited for?