Here’s What You Should Know About UFC 242 And Abu Dhabi Showdown Week
You have to admit that when it comes to throwing a high profile week of entertainment, Abu Dhabi seems to be in a league of its own. And while F1 week is now set in stone as a glorious end to a season’s racing, the inaugural Abu Dhabi Showdown Week – starting on September 1 – is set to pack a fair old punch of its own.
Even by Abu Dhabi’ standards this one’s pretty special. A seven-day party in the capital that leads to an almighty scrap in the octagon at UFC 242 – with Khabib vs. Poirier as the main event.
But there’s more to this than mere brute force. Running September 1-7 and created by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Showdown Week runs the gamut of rock star-packed after party to the finest burger you’ve ever eaten – by way of the UAE debut of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In the interests of planning your week, here’s what you should look out for...
1. The main event
Not only can you expect the hotly anticipated Lightweight unification clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier on September 7 – number three on the UFC pound-for-pound list against number seven – but the UFC’s third visit to Abu Dhabi will also feature 13 other bouts – including a co-main event between Edson Barboza and Paul Felder and two women’s fights: Liana Joju vs. Sarah Moras at Bantamweight and Joanne Calderwood vs. Andrea Lee at Lightweight.
2. The workout
Let’s be clear: with open workouts, autograph signings, meet-and-greet sessions and the weigh-in, you’ll have the chance to see the world’s fastest growing sports franchise up close. But if you’re looking to build up a little more of a sweat, then Abu Dhabi Sports and Fitness Expo – which runs concurrently with Showdown Week – is one to watch. Featuring competitions, fitness programmes and live fitness shows from the likes of four-time Mr Olympia, Jay Cutler and four-time Mr Universe, Mike O’Hearn, it’s the chance step up your own fitness game with the best in the business.
3. The music
Whether you’re aiming for the debut UAE performance by legendary rockers, Red Hot Chilli Peppers on September 4 or a spot by Colombian reggaeton superstar J Balvin on September 5, you’re a little spoiled for choice when it comes to gigs at Yas Island’s new indoor venue. Between you and us, there are a couple of high profile announcements yet to be made, too. And while we can’t tell you who they are just yet, we can tell you that they’re pretty special.
4. The food
With more than 25 food options – from restaurant to café to bar to pop-up – you should keep an eye out for the city-wide Knockout Burgers campaign. Running from August 25 to fight night on September 7, a whole host of outlets on Yas Island and Saadiyat Island will be preparing their own offering exclusively for Abu Dhabi Showdown Week.
5. The after party
Pool parties kick things off here, with events at Saadiyat Beach Club on September 2 and 3, as well as a fight night viewing party on September 7. The high profile highlight could well be the official Red Hot Chili Peppers after party at BIZAAR by Mad on September 4 – special guest star to be announced – but then that could be a matter of some debate. September 5 sees Drai’s Las Vegas host a pool party at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, there’s a weigh-in after party at The Edition Abu Dhabi club, The Annex, and then Iris Beach Club comes to Yas Beach on September 6. If that’s not enough, go out with a bang on fight night with either The White Experience or Socialista at Cipriani.
After all that? Well we’re not entirely sure, but we would probably advise solid bed rest for around one week.