After a thrilling opening round in Singapore, the semifinals for the inaugural Road to UFC tournament have a location and date, according to sources close to the situation.
The second round is targeted for October 23rd in Abu Dhabi, the day after UFC 281, multiple sources confirmed with The AllStar. While the Etihad Arena will host UFC 281, the venue for the Road to UFC semifinals is not yet known, as well as broadcast plans.
At this time, the eight semifinal matchups will follow the original bracket posted on the Road to UFC broadcast, although they are subject to change. Currently, South Korea has the lead in the tournament with six athletes, followed by Japan (4), China (3), and Indonesia, India, and Thailand each having one representative.
Additionally, multiple sources have also confirmed that the finals are targeted to take place on the prelims of a US-based UFC card on December 16th.
Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA teammates Topnoi Kiwram and Hyun Sung Park will have to face each other in the flyweight semifinals in a tough outcome of the tournament bracket. Both Anshul Jubli and Min Woo Kim also walked over to the second round when their opponents dropped out of their scheduled fights the week of the opening round, and no suitable replacement could be found by the UFC.
Current Road to UFC semifinal matchups:
Flyweight- Topnoi Kiwram vs. Hyun Sung Park
Flyweight- Qiulun vs. Seung Guk Choi
Bantamweight- Min Woo Kim vs. Shohei Nose
Bantamweight- Rinya Nakamura vs. Kazama Toshiomi
Featherweight- Yi Zha vs. Koyomi Matsushima
Featherweight- Kai Lu vs. Jeong Young Lee
Lightweight- Kyung Pyo Kim vs. Anshul Jubli
Lightweight- Jeka Saragih vs. Won Bin Ki
UFC 281 will be the first return for the promotion to the Middle East since UFC 267 last October. The location rose to prominence during the Covid-era of the UFC, where they hosted several events in succession on “Fight Island”. Now, the UFC hosts their Abu Dhabi events at the Etihad Arena, open to the public.