The rumours were true. UFC  242 is confirmed for Abu Dhabi on September 7th and while the venue and fight card have yet to be revealed it seems inevitable the event will be headlined by a lightweight unification bout.

In an interview with RT Sport, ahead of last weekend’s UFC St. Petersburg card, Khabib Nurmagomedov says he expects to face Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi on September 7th.

The UFC today confirmed the date and announced that it would be the first of five annual events to be held in the Emirate. Dana White said his promotion was returning after a five year hiatus due to overwhelming popular demand,

“We are making a long-term commitment to Abu Dhabi because we have had great success in that market. The demand from our fans to bring UFC back to Abu Dhabi has been overwhelming, and over the next five years (we) will help us deliver some spectacular UFC championship fights to the UAE.”

The UFC has put on two events in Abu Dhabi but has not been back there since 2014. Last year there were shows in Beijing and Singapore but this is the only Asian event currently on the 2019 calendar.

The main event seems certain to pit undefeated champion Nurmagomedov (27-0) against recently crowned interim champion Poirier (25-5-1). The former established himself as a marquee name by stopping Conor McGregor at UFC 229 last year.

Meanwhile Poirier claimed the interim belt after a fantastic fight with Max Holloway at UFC 236. Previous UFC cards in Abu Dhabi have either taken place at Du Arena or a purpose build stadium on Yas Island.