UFC 251 UFC Fight Island
Courtesy: LegitGamblingSites.com

UFC 251 – Fight Island Preview



It’s finally time for UFC Fight Island. The first event, held on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, takes place this Saturday as three titles are on the line.


Headlining the event will be a Welterweight showdown between Jorge Masvidal (35-13 16KOs) and Kamaru Usman (16-1 7KOs). Also on the card, we will see Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski (21-1 11KOs) defend his title against the man from whom he took it, Featherweight GOAT, Max Holloway (21-5 10KOs). Rounding out the three title bouts will be a match for the vacant Bantamweight strap as Petr Yan (14-1 6KOs) takes on one of the fight game’s all-time greats in Jose Aldo (28-6 17KOs).

This is the UFC big summer event that usually takes place in Las Vegas. But due to COVID-19, there was a change of location. As the saying goes, ‘The show must go on.’ A fight card initially set to happen in June, this card–more specifically the main event–almost came together by faith alone. The promotion searched high and low to find a location to host this event as, at the time, everything was shut down due to the pandemic. Las Vegas, Florida, and Texas, along with other locations, were considered. But ultimately, Dana White landed on Yas Island as the perfect spot to hold the fights.

The original bout fell through, as Jorge Masvidal and the UFC couldn’t come together on contract terms. This subject deserves an article of its own. Fighters are vastly underpaid, and those like Masvidal who know their worth, take stances against the promotion simply to get what is rightfully theirs. Once that happened, the champion, Usman, was left without an opponent. Back in May, UFC on ESPN was set to be headlined by former champion Tyron Woodley vs. Leon Edwards to determine the next challenger for the belt. Because of COVID-19, Edwards was not able to travel from his home in London to the states, so a replacement was found in Gilbert Burns. The Brazilian earned the win and stamped his name as the next in line for a title shot. Last week, Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and, yet again, another replacement was needed.


A simple Tweet from Masvidal sent shockwaves through the MMA world as it stated, ‘Gamebread is an animal that has been bred to be game.’


Gamebred is Masvidal’s nickname. How fitting was it that the original fight was back on the table to set things right and give the fans the showdown they really want? Both Usman and Masvidal nearly came to blows during Super Bowl week as they exchanged words and needed to be separated. So now it seemed this feud could finally be settled inside the cage. First, both had to pass multiple COVID-19 tests just to travel. It was hinted that Masvidal’s future fights with the promotion would be along the lines of what he thinks is only fair, so time will tell. Both fighters are now waiting to weigh in and take one more test, and if all goes well, we will have our fight.


UFC 251 UFC Fight Island Masvidal vs Usman
Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Coming from Miami, Florida, Masvidal has always been one to not back down from a scrap. Being a pro since 2003Masvidal fought in Bellator and Strikeforce, among other promotions, before making his way to the UFC. With 48 matches under his belt, he holds the record for the most bouts before getting his first title shot. Don’t let that fool you. Masvidal has stepped across the cage from some of sport’s best–win or lose. In 2017, after suffering a loss to Stephen Thompson, he fell to 9-6 in the promotion. Always considered a fierce fighter, he just couldn’t find consistency in his game. He took some time off as he went to be a part of a reality TV Show for Telemundo’s version of Survivor. Being isolated and away from all the distractions gave him a chance to reflect on his career and where he was going. Gamebred came back with a new focus and mindset. It started in 2019 when he knocked out Darren Till in London at UFC Fight Night. He followed that up by recording the fastest KO in UFC history by putting Ben Askren to sleep with a flying knee five seconds into the fight. After that, he headlined UFC 244 in New York against Nate Diaz for the BMF (Baddest Mother Fucker) title, which was created specifically for this matchup. After winning three in a row, finding a resurgence in his career, gaining more fame, and establishing a laser focus to walk away with the title, Masvidal is set to complete his rebirth and fulfill his dreams of being a UFC champion.


But to do so, he’ll have to defeat one of the game’s most consistent fighters in champion Kamaru Usman. 


Coming from Nigeria and settling in Texas when his family emigrated to the states when he was eight years old, Usman has been on a tear since turning pro in 2012. He’s on a 15-fight win streak, including winning 11 in a row in the world’s top MMA promotion. After winning The Ultimate Fighter series in 2015, Usman’s climb up the ranks was a steady one as he paired his wrestling background with power, constant forward pressure,

UFC 251 UFC Fight Island Masvidal vs Usman
Courtesy: TalkSPORT

and a gas tank that can go the distance. The champ has shown that whether he gets the quick finish or the fight goes the distance, he will be in your face from the first bell until the last. All of his wins that went the distance were unanimous decisions, which shows that the longer the fight goes on, the harder it is for his opponents to keep up. Hence, the reason why his nickname, The Nigerian Nightmare, is so fitting.

Interesting note: Due to his father being in prison, Usman asked the UFC not to put him on any PPV cards until he fought for the title so his dad could watch as many of his fights as possible. That went on for nine matches. Now, as the champion in the spotlight as the main event of PPV shows, he has the chance to etch his name out as possibly one of the best when it’s all said and done. Usman has put together a streak of wins. He had a dominating victory over Tyrone Woodley to capture the belt, and then an all-out war in a win versus Colby Covington. Usman can continue his momentum and take another step towards being one of the best in the division’s history by putting an end to the resurrection of one Jorge Masvidal.


But the main event isn’t the only game on the island. A rematch for the Featherweight title is the co-main event as former Rugby player, Alexander Volkanovski, looks to prove that his upset win wasn’t a fluke and that he is the new king of the division.


UFC 251 UFC Fight Island Masvidal vs Usman
Courtesy: Sportsnet

Looking to reclaim his crown is Hawaiian Max Holloway. Despite only defending the belt three times before losing it, Holloway was on a 10-fight win streak against some of the best in the division, cleaning out all the competition before getting his crack at UFC gold. While Holloway was on his run, Volkanovski was on a 7-fight winning streak as well. Their first fight went the distance, but depending on who you ask, it was either a clear win for Max, a back and forth battle to the end, or Alexander walked away with it. Despite how you scored it, there was a new champion crowned, and now he’s looking to make this victory more clear-cut in his favor. That won’t be easy, as Holloway has shown in victory and defeat, he will be there until the end. Both fighters are in exciting positions. If Holloway regains his title, he can either stick around for a couple more fights or decide to try his luck again and move up to Lightweight. If Volkanovski wins, the division will have a new leader–one who has some fresh matchups waiting for him. Either way, we are in for an excellent showing between two fighters who like to mix it up between being aggressive and countering, applying combinations in bunches, and have some serious power. The sequel should be a fun affair to witness.


The third title bout on the card is for the vacant Bantamweight strap as Russias Petr Yan does battle with a legend who’s looking to become a member of the champ club in former Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo.


When former champion, Henry Cejudo, vacated the belt after his win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 back in May, it was almost evident that these two contenders should be in the cage to see who will be the new king. Yan has been on a tear since entering the UFC back in 2018. He’s had six straight wins, including putting away Hall of Famer, Urijah Faber, back in December. His power and strength, paired with his size and pressure, have

UFC 251 UFC Fight Island Masvidal vs Usman
Courtesy MMA Junkie – USA Today

been a lot to handle for his opponents. But if there is a fighter who has seen it all, it’s Jose Aldo. The former king of the Featherweight division, who was on an undefeated streak that stretched over ten years, is certainly no stranger to taking on bigger-than-life challenges. Despite being 3-5 in his last eight bouts, including his loss against Conor McGregor in December at UFC 194, Aldo has shown that even in defeat, he still has what it takes to be a champion once again. His power, accuracy, timing, and aggressive nature have served him well this deep into his career. He made his Bantamweight debut in December at UFC 245 but lost in a razor-thin, split decision. Given his resume, legacy, and how good he looked in his debut, the promotion was willing to push him towards a title shot. Now he gets his chance to join an elite club of fighters who have won a title in two different divisions. While Yan is looking to become the second Russian fighter to win UFC gold, both he and Aldo will be coming forward looking to put an end to the fight and make a historic mark on the records.


UFC 251 Fight Island will also feature a rematch between two former champions as Rose Namajunas (8-4 5subs) takes on Jessica Andrade (20-7 7KOs 7subs), who took the title from Namajunas in a Women’s Strawweight bout.


This card is stacked with former champs looking to reclaim gold, contenders who are finally getting their chance at the title, and belt holders looking to get back to the top of the division. It all comes to you this Saturday on PPV.

UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    UFC 251    UFC Fight Island    

-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media


Follow The Franchise on social media