UFC 251 is approaching fast, and also has a new main event. Jorge Masvidal has accepted the challenge and will step in on less than a week’s notice to face welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in Abu Dhabi this weekend. The substitution comes after the previous challenger Gilbert Burns had tested positive for COVID-19. At this time, every other fighter on the card has been cleared to participate on Saturday night (Sunday morning local time). It actually works out pretty nicely, as many MMA analysts viewed this matchup as Masvidal’s for the taking, as a title shot has been well deserved for quite some time.
This weekend will be the debut of Fight Island, which has been kept very secret until Dana White announced that he had secured the island to host multiple events in July. The fights will feature several international fighters, as the United States is still struggling massively with controlling the second surge of coronavirus.
Initially, the first card saw its original headliner fall apart with Burns’ positive test. Usman/Masvidal was the fight that initially made the most sense for the division and the one fans most preferred, but with Burns’ recent success and the overpowering victory of Tyron Woodley, Gilbert was offered the first event on the island.
Masvidal (35-13 record) will provide a challenge for Usman, as the two fighters have an extreme contrast in styles with the striking of Masvidal against the wrestling of Usman. The co-main event of featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski against former titleholder Max Holloway will be a rematch for the ages and will take the night to a whole new level of entertainment. UFC 251 also includes a bantamweight title matchup between Petr Yan and former featherweight champ Jose Aldo.
There was some hesitancy revolving around the logistics of the fighters, as several of the participants traveled across the country and arrived this week in the United Arab Emirates. All fighters and their teams are safe, as they are currently in quarantine and following protocols.
Kamaru Usman is currently a -244 favorite over Masvidal (+209 dog). Bet everything UFC 251 over at BetOnline.ag/Sportsbook.