After briefly postponing future events in the spring of 2019 due to the coronavirus outbreak, UFC CEO Dana White wasted no time in getting the world’s biggest fighting league back up and running in a big way, promising that the UFC would be the first sport back in action and that he was preparing a private “Fight Island” as a venue for future fights. White made good on the first promise, and now the second one is about to be finally fulfilled on Saturday, January 23, when MMA all-star Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon to face Dustin Poirier in a rematch at UFC 257 — the first event to be held in the newly built Etihad Arena on Yas Island, United Arab Emirates.
The UFC schedule has been in flux since April of last year when the ongoing public health crisis caused Dana White to reluctantly postpone further fights. That didn’t last long, however; UFC 249 happened about a month after its initial postponement, and the normal schedule has more or less continued since then. However, it wasn’t until now that UFC Fight Island — which White hinted at last year — finally became fully operational, and UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 is officially slated to be the first show to take place at the new venue. A limited audience will also be in attendance for the first time since last March.
UFC Fight Island is not actually an isolated island in itself, but is situated on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Yas Island is already home to many popular tourist attractions, and over the past few months, part of the isle has been completely transformed to build Etihad Arena, along with other facilities for fighters and staff to live and train. Previously, UFC events have been held at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, but this is the first time that the UFC’s own newly built arena will be used for an event. UFC 257 is a fitting one to be the first for Etihad Arena on Fight Island, too, with MMA legend Conor McGregor returning to the Octagon to face Dustin Poirier in a rematch after announcing his second retirement last year.
If you’re wondering how to watch UFC online without cable, then ESPN+ is a must. This premium streaming service is the best way to stream the live MMA events (along with replays, analysis, interviews, press conferences, and more) thanks to the sports broadcaster’s tight relationship with the UFC. ESPN+ is also the only venue for watching pay-per-view shows like UFC 257 on January 23.