Despite some initial concerns about the ability to secure a venue for their upcoming trip to Abu Dhabi, the world's biggest fight promotion today announced that UFC 112 will take place at the Concert Arena from Ferrari World, Yas Island, on Saturday, April 10.
The card will be held outdoors -- the first ever open-air event in UFC history.
As expected, the UFC will bring out their biggest stars for the event, including two championship title fights when Anderson "The Spider" Silva defends his middleweight strap against Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort.
Joining them as the co-main event will be lightweight kingpin BJ "The Prodigy" Penn taking on Frankie "The Answer" Edgar. Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie has also been confirmed for the main card.
From UFC President Dana White:
"This is one of the biggest and most significant nights in the history of the UFC. UFC 112 is our first ever outdoor event and it is taking place in the hometown of our brand new partners, Flash Entertainment. We are very happy we could deliver what fans around the world will recognize as a stacked card featuring the sport’s biggest stars."
White, along with Zuffa owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, signified their ambition to cement their foothold in the Middle East and Asia when they announced that an Abu Dhabi-owned entertainment promotion company had bought a 10 percent share in the UFC earlier this month.
Flash Entertainment, an investment arm of the emirate's government, came on board as a strategic partner in its ongoing effort to build a global mixed martial arts brand.
Fertitta elaborated that numerous suitors -- including private equity funds, hedge funds, and media companies -- have come onboard with lucrative offers. Flash, a promoter known for bringing high-profile concerts and other events to the Middle East, ultimately won the bidding competition because the UFC brass saw in it a potential to accelerate UFC's growth in Middle Eastern countries, as well as in China and India.
Now with UFC 112 ready to kick the sand in the faces of global naysayers, it's not unrealistic to think the UFC will return to Abu Dhabi in 2011 -- and beyond.
Who's next in the quest for global domination?
For more on the UFC 112 fight card click here.