JACK Shore aims to pick up where he left off to collect an 11th finish in his 12th professional contest when he faces off against Aaron Phillips in the sweltering heat of Abu Dhabi in the early hours of Thursday morning, writes Jason Batty.

The unbeaten Shore Mixed Martial Arts Academy fighter impressed on his UFC debut last year and has been itching to get back in the octagon since, although he wouldn’t have expected it to be in the unfamiliar surroundings and conditions of Fight Island.

Shore landed in the United Arab Emirates last week and spent his first few days in quarantine before then being allowed to train solely with his coaches.

Training presented its challenges, having to adapt to American times to accommodate the USA’s pay per view market and also needing to acclimatise to the soaring temperatures.

“We’ve finally adapted to the time zone,” said the 25-year-old from Abertillery. “The heat is brutal but thankfully we have been told the venue has good air conditioning so it shouldn’t factor during the actual fight, hopefully!”

The fight takes place within the UFC ten square mile bubble where Shore gets to showcase his skills amongst a wealth of talent that has been flown in from all over the world.

It will be the second event of four over the two-week period which has already included three title fights.

Fight Island will also feature Welshmen John Phillips and Brett Johns, who will be looking to build on their last UFC victories and continue to fuel the appetite for MMA in Wales.

South Wales Argus:

“It feels great to be here at Fight Island,” said Shore. “There’s massive names here, so to be mixing and sharing the cards with these guys is a great experience for a young fighter like me.

“It’s great to share the island with fellow Welshman, I watched these two guys as an amateur so to be sharing this experience with them is unreal. It’s a massive opportunity for Welsh MMA to show what it has to offer.”

Looking to serve Shore with his first loss is Aaron ‘The Model’ Phillips (12-3), who goes into the fight on a five-fight win streak which boasts three knockout wins.

The Louisiana combatant returns to the UFC following a five-year absence having competed in the World Fighting Championship, earning reputation for his KO power.

Phillips stepped in at short notice following Shore’s original opponent, Anderson dos Santos, testing positive for Covid-19 as he was due to leave Brazil.

“I know he’s a good striker and fought for the UFC years ago. Full respect to him for stepping in,” said Shore.

“I think I hold the advantage in there, I’m going to let my instincts take over and go from there. As always I predict a finish.”

Shore is on the card that is headed by the featherweight clash between Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige.

The main card starts at 3am with Shore and John Phillips among the prelims, which get under way at midnight.

The Swansea fighter goes up against Khamzat Chimaev in a middleweight clash. The 35-year-old (22-9) beat Alen Amedovski in September to respond to a loss against Gwent fighter Jack Marshman earlier in the year.

Johns, also from Swansea, is in action on Saturday night when he takes on Montel Jackson in a bantamweight clash in a bid to improve his 16-2 record.