After briefly postponing future events in the spring of 2020 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 quickly made good on the first promise, and the second one was finally fulfilled on January 23 of this year, when MMA all-star Conor McGregor returned 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 2020 UFC schedule was briefly thrown into disarray in April of last year when the public health crisis caused Dana White to reluctantly put further fights on hold. That delay didn’t last long, however; UFC 249 happened about a month after its initial postponement, and the normal schedule has more or less continued steadily 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 was the first official show to take place at the new venue. A limited audience was 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 several 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 UFC 257 was the first time that the UFC’s own newly built arena will be used for an event. UFC 257 was 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 highly anticipated rematch. There, McGregor suffered his first knockout loss in a second-round upset win for Poirier.
If you’re wondering how to live stream UFC 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 260: Miocic vs. Ngannou on March 27.
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