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Fight Island: Swollen eye, anaconda choke and 8,500 Covid tests

Ashwani Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on July 12, 2020
Rose Namajunas celebrates after her split-decision victory over Jessica Andrade of Brazil. (Reuters)

And after what was a truly memorable win, Namajunas offered to auction off her fight kit for makeup artist Suzy Friton, who is battling cancer

The UFC Fight Island debut night produced remarkable stories of power and determination of the fighters, while bringing out their humane side.

And, of course, the sterling effort by the local authorities to make the impossible possible in the UAE Capital simply took the breath away.

Take for instance the women's strawweight division rematch. Rose Namajunas ended up with a swollen eye and yet she never let Jessica Andrade escape from her clutches.

She wanted to seek revenge for last year's embarrassing championship loss when Namajunas dominated the entire bout only for Andrade to pin her down with a swift knockout slam. Namajunas also did justice to the fight being a main card entry of the UFC 251.

And after what was a truly memorable win, she offered to auction off her fight kit for makeup artist Suzy Friton, who is battling cancer.

Meanwhile, Brazil's Amanda Ribas, a flyweight division women athlete, first stunned everyone with an arm bar submission move over American fighter Paige VanZant and then stole hearts with her post-fight reactions and appeal to the UFC president Dana White.

"Salaam Alaikum everyone. I tried to learn some words in Arabic. I thank the UFC for giving me an opportunity to fight here and do my work. With this I can prove myself in front of the world that it doesn't matter what you are or who you are, what really matters is what you want to do with your life," the 26-year-old, who is ranked 15th with a 10-1 win-loss record, said.

"I was training in a small city with nobody trusting me as to how I can beat someone training in the big gym. But then I have a big heart and because of that I put all my energy in whatever I do to come here. Now I am asking the UFC to give me a big fight again because I want to come up in my ranking."

The undercard category too came up with stunning moments. In the featherweight division, Makwan Amirkhani had Danny Henry slip into a nap with an anaconda choke.
'Mr. Finland' Amirkhani became only the third UFC fighter to win by Anaconda choke.

And it was a big day for the local authorities as the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi successfully hosted the Fight Island debut with 13 explosive fights.

Safety continued to be a major aspect of the event with the octagon being sterilised after every bout. All officials and personnel outside the cage wore masks.

For the record, local authorities have conducted 8,543 Covid-19 tests so far. And there have been 11,912 combined days of quarantine by those inside the 'Safe Zone'.

ashwani@khaleejtimes.com





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