Abu Dhabi: For those travelling on the new highway connecting Abu Dhabi to Shahama via the islands of Yas and Saadiyat, the imposing shell structure of the Ferrari World has always been a mystery.
But Saturday evening enthusiastic first-timers as well as die-hard martial arts followers not only got a taste of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) but also got a chance to enter Ferrari World.
UFC, which showcases fighters of various proficiencies including boxing, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, wrestling and Muay Thai, was making its debut in the region and was being held in an outdoor arena for the first time.
The arena was close to full even before the first bout of the evening, between the unbeaten Jon Madsen and crowd favourite Mostapha Al Turk, began. But even before the first punch was thrown in this heavyweight bout there was a big roar of approval for the Octagon Girls.
Madson used his favourite technique of punching hard to win a unanimous 29-28 verdict over Mostapha from the three judges. This was a stand-up fight as the first take-down of the night came just seconds before the final bell.
Fight to the finish
UFC first-timers were soon given a shake-up when the clean opening bout was soon followed by a bloody lightweight contest between Liverpool's Paul Kelly and Matt Veach which set the tone for the night.
The first round was a huge ground battle and Veach almost had a rear neck choke, but Kelly managed to get out and work Veach's guard. Veach continued to threaten with a kimura attempt.
Both fighters got back on their feet with Kelly pounding Veach, opening a cut above his right eye. Round two went to the ground again, much like the first round, with Kelly in full cry. Veach's eye was bleeding badly as Kelly got into half guard then side mount and kept dropping elbows on Veach.
Kelly secured a guillotine choke and Veach tapped out — the fight ended due to submission at 3:41 in round two.
Silva vs Maia
In another fight, Brazilian fighter Anderson "The Spider" Silva retained his UFC middleweight belt after beating compatriot Demian Maia.
Silva taunted and toyed with Maia throughout the fight. Silva won by unanimous decision in the fifth round.