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UFC Announces First Outdoor Event

For the first time in UFC history, the fights will take place outdoors when the promotion debuts with UFC 112 on April 10 in Abu Dhabi, the UFC announced Wednesday.

As MMA Fighting previously reported, the two main events set for the card are title fights between champ Anderson Silva against Vitor Belfort and titleholder BJ Penn versus Frankie Edgar. Also, Renzo Gracie will make his debut against former champion Matt Hughes.

As of two weeks ago, the UFC didn't have venue when it announced that Flash Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, purchased a 10 percent stake in Zuffa, the parent company of UFC and WEC.

The UFC has decided on the Concert Arena in Ferrari World, a theme park in Yas Island, where Beyonce, Jamiroqui, Kings of Leon and Aerosmith played shows last year.

"This is one of the biggest and most significant nights in the history of the UFC," UFC president Dana White said in a statement. "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."

Penn (15-5-1) will be making his third title defense. He won the belt against Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 in January 2008 and has defended the belt by finishing Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez.

Edgar (11-1) has won six of his seven UFC fights, with his lone loss against Gray Maynard. Maynard was also in the running for a shot against Penn, but after lackluster performance in a split decision win against Nate Diaz, was passed over by Edgar.

Silva (25-4) is coming off a dominant knockout win against Forrest Griffin in August and elbow surgery. He would have faced Belfort earlier this month at UFC 108, but wanted more time to recover from surgery.

Without a single middleweight fight since his UFC return, Belfort's credentials and his first-round knockout last September over Rich Franklin was enough to convince the UFC to grant him a title shot. Belfort (19-8) will enter the fight on a five-fight win streak and three straight knockouts.

Making his long-awaited UFC debut is Renzo Gracie -- who turns 43 in March.

"I do love fighting. This is the thing that I love the most," Gracie told MMA Fighting last week. "I do believe that I can still hang in there with the young guys and I still can be in a competitive level."

Gracie fights 36-year-old Hughes, who in the first half of last decade was the most dominant welterweight in UFC. In September, Hughes also signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC, putting retirement rumors to rest.

UFC to be streamed live in China

The UFC is further expanding into the Chinese market, naming as an official web partner. will stream UFC events live on its kung fu channel beginning with UFC 109 in February. is also the official partner of the NBA and ESPN in China. The UFC began airing in China last summer on NMTV.
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