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UFC 257: 3 Things you need to know about the Etihad Arena

UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi
UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi
Modified 08 Jan 2021, 08:28 IST

With the announcement that UFC will have its three upcoming events to be partially open to the public, we delve deep into the next venue to hold an event for the company: Etihad Arena.

Unlike the other times that UFC Fight Island took place in the United Arab Emirates, the triple-header week of 2021 will occur in the Etihad Arena instead of the Flash Forum. Both venues are located at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

Although UFC president Dana White has said before that he was not interested in having events with a crowd if not with the venue's full capacity, he also acknowledged that the promotion would have to concede to the wishes of the organizers and officials.

Any way it goes, the first UFC events of the year will have a "limited number of spectators." It will be the first time that the public will be allowed to check the octagon's action from up close since March 2020.

#1 Etihad Arena can host up to 18,000 people

The Etihad Arena has a full capacity of 18,000. With over 3.5 thousand square meters, there is plenty of space for the crowd to sit, walk, and enjoy the other attractions situated in the state-of-the-art arena.

UFC President Dana White and former double-champion, Daniel Cormier, visited the Etihad Arena last October. White was impressed with the venue's architecture and comfort.


The UFC boss said at the time that "Abu Dhabi is going to become the fight capital of the world."

Most definitely, White got this impression from the ultra-modern infrastructure of the Etihad Arena and the future plans for other site projects for Yas Island.

#2 Etihad Arena is the Middle East's largest indoor multipurpose venue

The United Arab Emirates wants to prove that they are ready to be the next world's touristic pole. Their investments in different sports - especially football and MMA - have brought the attention of fans worldwide to the small country in the Arabian Peninsula.

However, it is not only with sponsorship deals and expensive gifts that the Emirati people are spending their money. The heaviest expenses were in their own infrastructure, aiming to host top world events of all kinds in the future, Sports included.


For that, they launched an ambitious plan of turning a whole island into a resort. In Abu Dhabi, the Yas Island was transformed into a giant leisure center, with numerous buildings, hotels, stadiums, arenas, and parks focused on receiving matches, tournaments, concerts, and other attractions in the near future.

The Etihad Arena is the biggest jewel in the crown. Its magnifique design has been awarded and praised around the world, 

#3 Previous events to take place at the Etihad Arena

As of yet, no events were held in the Etihad Arena. The inauguration plans had to be discarded last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced countries to shut down in an attempt to flatten the curve of infections.

Although many other sports events already happened in Yas Island, such as Formula One and UFC itself, the venues used were different. It is understood that the Etihad Arena was being reformulated and kept clear for more significant events in the future.

The first UFC event to happen at the Etihad Arena will be headlined by Max Holloway versus Calvin Kattar on January 16. The second of the three UFC events of the week will occur four days later when Michael Chiesa takes his chances against Neil Magny.


The third and most anticipated of the UFC events in the Etihad Arena is UFC 257. The main event between Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier is one of the year's most exciting fights. UFC 257 will happen on January 23.

Published 08 Jan 2021, 08:28 IST
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