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We are back on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi: UFC's White

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 23, 2020 | Last updated on September 23, 2020 at 12.22 am
Israel Adesanya (left) arrives in Abu Dhabi from Las Vegas. (Supplied photo)

Amid all the hype, Adesanya, on a 19-0 roll, felt confident about retaining his title belt

The roar is back on the UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. MMA superstars have flown in from Las Vegas and London to the UAE Capital for the second edition of the UFC Fight Island series.

The five-event 'Return to UFC Fight Island' will feature UFC 253, UFC 254 and three Fight Nights starting from this month-end till the next one. "We are back on Fight Island. We are here for five weeks. There are five fights," UFC president Dana White said after landing in the Capital.

In the first mega event of UFC 253, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and challenger Paulo Costa will clash inside the steel cage. The much-anticipated encounter between the two undefeated fighters is billed by White as the "fight of the year".

Amid all the hype, Adesanya, on a 19-0 roll, felt confident about retaining his title belt. "Compare the arsenal, he has to my arsenal, it's not the same," Adesanya, 'the last style bender', said.

Adesanya, however, acknowledged that No. 2 ranked Costa is a tough opponent. "He has fought human punching bags his whole career. He has never fought a guy who is as technically sound as I am and who is as technically unsound as I am. I have been doing this for a long time. "I have faced many bulls in my past, but yes this is a different kind of bull. And I want him limp on the ground, like, out. That's how I visualise the fight going," 31-year-old Adesanya noted.

"I will remain the undisputed UFC middleweight champion."

Costa, a 13-0 finisher, is hoping to return home with the belt as he aims to be the next legend from Brazil. Costa underlined that there will be a new champion on Sunday. "This is a big dream. I will go and take that belt," the 29-year-old 'Borrachinha' said. "I can put him down. I can also knock him out. I will start the fight, go forward, catch him and finish."

And the two fighters did run into each other in the hotel where they are under quarantine. Surprisingly, there was no trash talk. Both were in a jovial mood. In fact, Adesanya seemed surprised by a toned-figure of Costa and called him skinny. Costa was quick in response: "I look lean, not skinny."

There were handshakes all around and both the fighters parted ways keeping all action of busting each other open for Sunday.

Among the rest of the weekly actions, the one with local attachment and keenly followed is fan favourite Khabib Nurmagomedov's return to the octagon against Justin Gaethje on October 25.

The bouts, however, will continue to be held behind closed doors and inside the 'safe zone' with access only to team UFC and event employees essential for the operations of facilities on Yas Island.



Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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