At 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 11, UFC 251 brings forth one of many largest and greatest playing cards of the 12 months. With three title fights, and tons of “Battle Island” advertising and marketing, this occasion has the undivided consideration of not solely the MMA neighborhood, however sports activities followers on the whole. The thirteen-fight bout sheet is crammed with a large number of compelling, intriguing fights, even with the late replacements in just a few of the contests. To make use of the phrases of the younger people, this present goes to be lit. The motion will get underway at 6:00 p.m. ET on July 11.

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Kamaru Usman ($8,900)

Usman is the favourite on this battle for just a few causes, in the beginning his unimaginable wrestling base. Kamaru isn’t only a good wrestler, he’s a robust one, and he’s tailored his wrestling to suit his total MMA skillset higher than 95% of fighters on the roster. He has a ferocious blast double, completely smothering prime sport and a excessive work fee. He scrambles effectively and manages to get favorable positions and preserve them.

He’s one of many few wrestlers/grapplers that hasn’t deserted his elementary talent in favor of evolving placing. After we ended up getting a largely stand-up battle within the Colby Covington bout, it was as a result of he had little respect for Covington’s boxing. Covington is a quantity striker however packs little or no energy. Usman weighed the particulars fastidiously and felt the most effective path to go was to maintain the battle standing relatively than take dangers with Colby’s glorious wrestling—a transfer that proved to be the clever alternative and netted him the victory. When wrestling is warranted, Kamaru positively makes use of it advantageously. He’s a cerebral, clever athlete with excessive battle IQ.

And talking of his placing, it has come an extended, good distance. He makes use of a really efficient jab with fairly a little bit of pop on it and has flashes of energy which are being seen with extra frequency. Within the Covington battle, he landed a number of blows that basically did some injury and slowed Colby down significantly. He additionally goes to the physique and places in plenty of rib and liver tenderizers there, a software that extra fighters ought to embrace.

Lastly, we should always notice the close to countless stamina that Usman possesses. He stays contemporary from begin to end, managing his cardio very effectively. Within the cases when he takes temporary moments of respite, he nonetheless strives to remain energetic sufficient to win rounds. All in all, there’s little or no to take concern with in “The Nigerian Nightmare’s” skillset.

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Alexander Volkanovski ($9,100)

Volkanovski is a powerhouse that employed an extremely clever sport plan when he fought Max Holloway the primary time. His ahead strain and distance administration was key in having the ability to keep inside, the place he may tear up Max’s legs with highly effective kicks and work his physique over with stable quantity placing. It could not have been an entire decimation, but it surely was a stable, dominant victory that noticed clear-cut rounds figuring out the result in his favor. There wasn’t a lot controversy to the choice save for the contrarians that have been lifeless set on awarding the victory to longtime fan favourite Holloway.

Volkanovski is a former rugby participant constructed like a brick home. He’s quick, stocky and almost immovable. On account of the peak disparity he had when dealing with Holloway, he instantly moved to get into the cellphone sales space to start out working the legs and physique, a wise plan for any fighter, dimension disparity or not. He landed 75 leg kicks within the first bout and can possible maneuver himself to have the ability to put in comparable leg work early this time round, as effectively.

Alexander was very efficient along with his kickboxing and countering combos, continuously catching Max whereas he was being pressured backward. Plenty of these counters went unanswered, and if Volk can as soon as once more get a fast begin, particularly since Max takes a bit to get warmed up, he can neutralize him early and put a tempo on him that may make it tough to get better from. Volkanovski has superb cardio for such a stocky, muscular athlete, and appears to be higher suited to 145-pounds than Holloway is at present. Max has skilled difficulties making weight previously and as he ages, he would possibly discover himself higher suited to light-weight, particularly if he loses this rematch.

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Jorge Masvidal ($7,300)

Masvidal has had an amazing profession arc that’s nothing in need of unimaginable. He’s gone from being a stable, however virtually middling fighter who misplaced a number of shut choices—a few of which he arguably ought to’ve gained—to being a fast-paced, leisure juggernaut. He’s been setting information, placing in quick meals orders along with his fists and successful belts particularly denoting what a nasty man he’s.

Jorge has all the time had nice boxing, of that there is no such thing as a query. The issue was that he was typically a gradual starter and allowed his opponents to dictate the tempo and distance. He fights effectively off his again foot, however once you’re being walked down, judges usually be aware of who’s shifting ahead extra so than who’s touchdown the cleaner photographs and award their factors thusly.

That’s now not the case as of late. For the previous few years, Masvidal has gotten off to a faster begin, and maintained ahead momentum, clearly considering what most judges are searching for. His all the time nice boxing is even higher now, as evidenced by his masterful performances towards Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone.

“Gamebred” additionally has a really sturdy chin, as Darren Until landed a really clear shot that dropped him within the first spherical of their battle. It was a flash knockdown, and Jorge bounced again up instantly, touchdown a hammer of his personal. In that battle, Masvidal confirmed superb instincts and used a stage change to pretend a takedown, however as an alternative popped as much as land just a few fast photographs. When Until bought him up towards the cage and was touchdown large punches, Jorge by no means panicked and ended up coming again to stun Darren with a pair bombs earlier than the horn. By the point the second spherical rolled round, Masvidal had tasted the most effective Until needed to provide and made the required changes.

A kind of changes was to comply with via on a stage change and get Until down and take his again. Jorge has very underrated grappling, and though it’s nowhere close to as efficient as Usman’s, it might be sufficient to mount some protection when wanted.

The actual jewel within the crown for Jorge Masvidal is the facility he packs in that left. When he connects clear, it’s lights out. And make no mistake, Jorge isn’t taking any probabilities. He instantly goes for the conclusive end with devastating follow-up photographs. He’s additionally simply as efficient along with his knees (hi there, Ben Askren) and physique and head kicks.

Briefly, Masvidal turned a nook in his profession and has grow to be a really well-rounded, full fighter. He definitely has the instruments to upset the three-to-one favourite Usman, making him a completely stellar worth choose.

Max Holloway ($7,100)

RED ALERT! Max Holloway is a steal at this value! I do know Alexander Volkanovski decisively gained their final battle, however Holloway did a lot better in rounds 4 and 5, as soon as he bought Alex discovered, for essentially the most half. Whereas I do keep that Volkanovki clearly deserved the victory, I additionally consider that Holloway was fairing a lot better in these final rounds, making me assume that if there have been yet another, he would possibly’ve been capable of preserve his belt. Now that Max has an concept of what to anticipate, he may very effectively make the correct changes to make this his battle to lose.

The in the beginning factor he should do is examine the leg kicks. Switching stances continuously (particularly staying away from the orthodox stance), using higher footwork and utilizing lengthy vary kicks to dictate the gap and tempo are keys to nullifying Volkanovski’s stifling strain sport.

Uppercuts and physique work have been positively deadly to Volk’s glorious cardio, and in spherical 4, Max utilized these weapons very effectively. If he may get these realized earlier within the battle, he may sap Alexander’s stamina a lot sooner. Volkanovski can be vulnerable to quick knees contained in the clinch, as he leans in along with his head means low when he throws these large overhands, so use of these may discover precious buy.

Cardio might be king on this battle. Each males have a great deal of it, however in Abu Dhabi, the place the temperatures might be hovering above 100 by the point they take the octagon, particularly for the reason that area is a huge tent, fuel tanks will certainly be put to the take a look at. All week lengthy, the temps have been blazingly scorching and the humidity has additionally been vital, including to the cloistering, oppressive warmth. If Max has labored towards establishing his combos and physique work early, as well as to have the ability to stand up to the tempo and warmth, he has a good chance to regain his title.

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