The UAM Fight Night K1 Pro Kickboxing Championship will be held on February 11, organisers have confirmed. Featuring an elite line-up of men and women, the event will mark the UAE Muay Thai & Kickboxing Federation's (UAEMTKF) first event of a new season packed with exciting competitions across various categories.

The championship will be held at Etihad Arena and see 28 male and female athletes from 18 countries compete across several weight classes. The headline bout is a highly anticipated lightweight showdown between Briton Michael "The Punisher" Wakeling and UAE champion Ilyass Habibali.

The UAM Fight Night K1 Pro Championship will draw participants from 18 countries, including UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, France, Italy, England, Belgium, and Turkey, demonstrating the international participation in this championship as well as the strong global reputation the UAE now enjoys as a preferred destination for kickboxing. Simultaneously, Abu Dhabi has proven over the past 10 years that it is capable of hosting the most prestigious international competitions in a variety of sports.

The packed fight card brings a number of highly competitive bouts, especially the anticipated bout featuring Habibali and Wakeling, as both athletes hope for a well-earned victory. Over the course of his career, "The Punisher" has won 32 times throughout his career, including 14 victories of which came by way of knockout. UAE hero Habibali also has a stellar record, with 19 victories, five knockouts, and three defeats.

Meanwhile, the super welterweight fight between Moldovan Lilian Porcireanu and Vedat Hoduk of Turkey is also likely to produce fireworks. Hoduk has 25 KOs from his 36 wins.

Spectators will be able to enjoy the stellar performance of their favourite athletes across the day’s action-packed bouts, which will also feature two female bouts, proving great turnout of women practicing in this type of combat sports.

His Excellency Abdullah Saeed Al Neyadi, President of the UAEMTKF, said both Muay Thai and kickboxing are gaining popularity among Emirati society and the wider UAE population.

“Kickboxing enjoys a distinct demand from different nationalities and age groups,” he said. “This is in keeping with the vision and objectives of the Federation, which also aims to increase the reach of the sport and the number of participants. The UAE and specifically Abu Dhabi have significantly contributed to the growth of the sport at a regional and international level courtesy of the unwavering support of the country’s wise leadership and long-term vision for both the sport and its players.

“Bringing together an elite group of male and female players so early in the season reflects the growing status of kickboxing in the country. Perhaps this championship represents an important milestone for many upcoming events that will be included in the new season’s agenda, which aims to advance the readiness of the national team players and prepare them to compete in regional, continental, and international events. Welcoming all participants from all countries of the world and wishing them a pleasant stay in Abu Dhabi.”