A welterweight title combat between champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal was the July big-show predominant occasion that the UFC wished all alongside. It took a little bit of a meandering path to get there, however now the blockbuster matchup is lastly official.
Usman and Masvidal each weighed in efficiently at 170 kilos on Friday in Abu Dhabi. The 2 will meet within the UFC 251 headliner Saturday on Yas Island, which has been dubbed “Battle Island” for a monthlong slate of UFC occasions.
The combat got here collectively solely prior to now seven days. Gilbert Burns, who was Usman’s scheduled opponent, examined optimistic for COVID-19 on July 3, simply hours earlier than the UFC constitution was set to depart Las Vegas for Abu Dhabi. Over the weekend, the UFC was in a position to come to phrases with Masvidal, who balked on the promotion’s preliminary provide for the combat two months in the past.
Usman is tied with middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya for sixth on ESPN’s prime pound-for-pound MMA fighter record. Masvidal is No. 2 at welterweight, slightly below Usman.
Usman (16-1) has by no means misplaced within the UFC — a streak of 11 straight victories — and has not misplaced since his second professional combat in 2011. The 33-year-old Nigerian, who resides in Florida, final fought at UFC 245 in December — a fifth-round TKO over Colby Covington in what’s the newest UFC title-fight end ever. That was Usman’s first title protection.
Masvidal (35-13) has received three straight, all by knockout or TKO. He has 48 professional fights, the second highest complete ever for somebody making a UFC title combat debut. The 35-year-old Miami native stopped Darren Until, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz inside an eight-month span final yr, making him one of many hottest fighters on the UFC roster.
The five-second KO of Askren was the quickest in UFC historical past.
The opposite two title fights on the UFC 251 card are additionally official.
The co-main occasion pits featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski towards former champ Max Holloway. Each fighters made weight at 145 kilos. Volkanovski (21-1) beat Holloway (21-5) to win the title at UFC 245 in December.
Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Petr Yan will sq. off for the bantamweight title left vacant by the retired Henry Cejudo. Aldo, in simply his second profession combat at bantamweight, weighed 135 kilos, the identical as his opponent. Aldo (28-6) is on a two-fight shedding streak however is taken into account among the best pound-for-pound fighters ever. Yan (14-1) is 6-Zero within the UFC.
Raulian Paiva missed weight, coming in at 129 kilos for his flyweight combat towards Zhalgas Zhumagulov, who made weight at 126 kilos. An official determination relating to that combat has but to be made.