Abu Dhabi is set to host another world-class UFC event on Wednesday night when welterweight duo Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny put respective three-fight win streaks on the line at UFC FIGHT NIGHT: CHIESA vs. MAGNY, the second event of this week’s UFC Fight Island Triple Header.
The pair cannot wait to get into the Octagon inside the “amazing” Etihad Arena and demonstrate their skills in front of a live audience once again as Abu Dhabi and UFC continue to bring spectators back to live events in a safe and secure environment.
“This is my third time in Abu Dhabi in a 12-year span and my second time on Fight Island,” said Chiesa. “Last time I was here as an analyst for UFC and this time I’m here as a main event athlete, which is incredible. The whole thing from top to bottom is first class. This is my first time competing overseas. Everybody here is doing a great job accommodating us fighters and everyone in the bubble.
“It’s great having the fans back – they are the backbone of the sport. They are the ones buying the T-shirts and paying the money to come and watch us fighters, without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, so it’s going to be great having them back. I’m sure it’s going to be exciting for them and we’re going to put on a show for them. I cannot wait.
“The Etihad Arena looks amazing, the architecture is beautiful, just like so many other buildings here and I cannot wait to get inside to compete on Wednesday and get my main event win,” he added.
Fans attending UFC Fight Island Triple Header events will go through an elaborate spectator ‘journey’ that includes PCR testing (they must present a 48-hour valid negative PCR test on arrival), thermal scanning, mandatory mask wearing and social distancing once inside the venue. Leveraging the latest technology inside Etihad Arena, spectators will also be able to order food and beverages directly to their seats with cashless payments to minimise movement and ensure the safety of all parties.
“It’s great. They [Abu Dhabi and UFC] are doing it in the best way possible to keep everyone safe… in a controlled environment. It’s a great opportunity to go out there in front of fans again and I’m grateful they chose me,” said Magny.
“I was one of the last events of 2020 to have fans, so to be in one of the first events to have fans back in 2021 is super exciting and I want to set the bar pretty high for the year.
“There’s a lot on the line for Mike and me on Wednesday night. Whoever wins will be very close to the top five so we’re going to go out and put on a show. I’m excited to get inside the arena and show what I can do. It looks beautiful, like so much of the engineering here.”
Meanwhile, UAE resident Mounir Lazzez wants to show his skills for his “own people” in his co-main event fight against Brazilian Warley Alves, the first Arab fighter to be involved in a co-main UFC event.
“I am so happy to be back on Fight Island. This is my second fight here, so I am excited to put on a show in front of people. It is going to be a good night. It is always exciting to perform in front of my people and it’s great we have fans in Etihad Arena. I can’t wait to perform at this historic event. Get your ticket and watch me live!” said Lazzez.
“Living here definitely helps. No need to travel so this is a great advantage. I am on my own ground and I have never lost on my own ground, so I want to continue. When you are on your own ground, in your home, it’s different; you cannot lose.
“This has been a crazy year with the pandemic, but a huge thanks to the Abu Dhabi government and the UAE that have kept us working. They have made us the safe zone, the Etihad Arena; no one else in the world can make that. They made that happen,” he added.
Limited tickets are still available for UFC FIGHT NIGHT: CHIESA vs. MAGNY at etihadarena.ae or ticketmaster.ae.