For the primary time since 2007, the UFC will host its annual, marquee, pay-per-view occasion for the month of July at a location different than Las Vegas, as UFC 251 will likely be held Saturday on “Combat Island.” It is going to be the primary of 4 consecutive playing cards on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.

The occasion options three title fights, together with a most important occasion, welterweight matchup during which the challenger — Jorge Masvidal — accepted the battle on six days’ discover, and the champion — Kamaru Usman — was instructed to fly residence simply over per week in the past, as a result of his battle seemed to be off after Gilbert Burns examined constructive for COVID-19.

The buildup to UFC 251, which can happen inside a “secure zone” amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been something however typical, however we have nonetheless arrived at arguably the very best MMA card of the 12 months.

Along with Usman (16-1) vs. Masvidal (35-13), UFC 251 will see a featherweight title rematch between Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) and Max Holloway (21-5), and a bantamweight championship that includes Jose Aldo (28-6) and Petr Yan (14-1).

One other key bout options the return of Rose Namajunas, who faces Jessica Andrade in a rematch of their Could 11, 2019, bout during which Namajunas misplaced her title through second-round KO. Andrade went on to lose the belt to Zhang Weili, and Saturday’s winner could possibly be Weili’s subsequent opponent.

Comply with all of the motion right here with dwell outcomes, evaluation and social media response from varied fighters.

Combat in progress:

Heavyweight: Marcin Tybura (18-6, 5-5 UFC, -110) vs. Maxim Grishin (30-7-2, 0-Zero UFC, -110)


Males’s flyweight: Raulian Paiva (20-3, 2-2 UFC) defeats Zhalgas Zhamagulov (13-4, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous determination

Exercise. Quantity. Strain.

These three issues appeared to be what helped Paiva earn a unanimous determination (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Zhumagulov in a really shut battle.

Paiva pushed the tempo from the start and routinely pushed Zhumagulov’s again in opposition to the cage together with his placing. Zhumagulov had moments in every spherical. Within the second, he landed a gorgeous judo throw to floor Paiva. And within the third, Zhumagulov landed a left hand that wobbled Paiva momentarily, among the best blows of the bout.

However Paiva, although his photographs did not do a ton of injury, threw extra and was the extra aggressive fighter, which the judges appeared to offer the nod in the long run.

Paiva (20-3) missed weight coming in by three kilos and forfeited 20% of his purse to Zhumagulov. The Brazilian fighter has gained two straight. Paiva, 24, dropped his first two UFC fights, however has emerged as a flyweight prospect. Zhumagulov (13-4), a 31-year-old Kazakhstan native making his UFC debut, had a four-fight successful streak snapped.

— Raimondi

Girls’s bantamweight: Karol Rosa (13-3, 2-Zero UFC) defeats Vanessa Melo (10-8, 0-Three UFC) by unanimous determination

Brazilian bantamweight Karol Rosa has been scheduled to battle on 4 separate events in 2020, solely to see all of them fall by means of attributable to circumstances attributable to the coronavirus. When she lastly bought to make an look on Saturday, she didn’t disappoint.

Rosa totally dominated her Brazilian counterpart Vanessa Melo over the course of three rounds, en path to a unanimous determination. Rosa gained on all three judges playing cards, through scores of 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27.

Melo, who falls to 0-Three within the UFC, confirmed coronary heart within the loss, but it surely was apparent she was fully out-matched. Rosa picked her aside on the ft for 15 minutes, touchdown jabs, inside leg kicks and proper palms at will. In line with UFC Stats, Rosa out-landed Melo in whole strikes 159 to 85.

Rosa was scheduled to face Julia Avila in March, April and Could, however each date fell by means of attributable to logistical challenges. Avila finally moved on to a brand new opponent as properly, as she knocked out Gina Mazany at a UFC Combat Night time occasion in June. Rosa is now 2-Zero contained in the Octagon.

— Okamoto

Watch this battle on ESPN+.

Males’s bantamweight: Davey Grant (12-4, 3-Three UFC) defeats Martin Day (8-4, 0-2 UFC) by third-round KO



Davey Grant catches Martin Day within the change with a vicious left hook and knocks him out in Spherical 3.

Grant fights extremely occasionally. This was solely his sixth UFC battle within the final seven years. But, when he is within the Octagon he is often good for some thrills. He introduced these to Combat Island.

Grant put Day to sleep with a left hand to notch a knockout at 2:38 of the third spherical within the UFC 251 opener Saturday night time. Grant completed a punching mixture with a left hook. Day did not get his hand up in time to dam it — he was trying to counter — and ended up falling to the canvas unconscious.

Afterward, Grant stated he broke his jaw earlier within the bout. Day dropped Grant within the first spherical. Grant was capable of come again with quick punching mixtures that damage Day within the second. It was a really enjoyable, fast-paced bout all through.

Grant appeared drained within the third, however each time Day landed a mixture, Grant got here again with each extra quantity. On the finish, Grant whipped a proper hand that Day blocked and rapidly got here with a left, which Day by no means noticed. That was it.

Grant (12-4) has gained two straight following a two-fight dropping streak. The 34-year-old England native has solely been to a choice twice in his UFC run, although this was his first time incomes a end in a UFC win. Day (8-4), a 31-year-old Hawaii native, has misplaced two straight to start his UFC profession.

“I knew what he was coming for and I knew what I needed,” Grant stated. “I assumed I’ll attempt to be technical within the first two rounds. I assumed if it was all working, I would go to city after which have a conflict. I needed the primary battle on UFC Combat Island to be conflict. I believe we gave them that.

“I knew that if I might get inside (I might knock him out). I knew he has actually good kicks and good palms. He dropped me within the first and I did not know the place I used to be at. I assumed I am nonetheless going to face and commerce with him. I needed a battle like this within the UFC. I really feel like I have been a bit cautious. I needed to face within the pocket and bang — that is the way you get the knockout. I need to be a main-card fighter.”

— Raimondi

Watch this battle on ESPN+.

Nonetheless to come back:

PPV (through ESPN+), 10 p.m. ET

Welterweight championship: Kamaru Usman (c) (16-1, 11-0 UFC, -230) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-13, 12-6 UFC, +190)

Males’s featherweight championship: Alexander Volkanovski (c) (21-1, 8-Zero UFC, -220) vs. Max Holloway (21-5, 17-5 UFC, +185)

Males’s bantamweight championship: Petr Yan (14-1, 6-Zero UFC, -240) vs. Jose Aldo (28-6, 10-5 UFC, +200)

Strawweight: Jessica Andrade (20-7, 11-5 UFC, +175) vs. Rose Namajunas (9-4, 6-Three UFC, -200)

Girls’s flyweight: Amanda Ribas (9-1, 3-Zero UFC, -750) vs. Paige VanZant (8-4, 5-Three UFC, +525)

Prelims, ESPN/ESPN+

Gentle heavyweight: Volkan Oezdemir (17-4, 5-Three UFC, -160) vs. Jiri Prochazka (26-3-1, 0-Zero UFC, +140)

Welterweight: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (22-6, 8-2 UFC, +120) vs. Muslim Salikhov (16-2, 3-1 UFC, -140)

Males’s featherweight: Makwan Amirkhani (15-4, 5-2 UFC, -200) vs. Danny Henry (12-3, 2-1 UFC, +175)

Light-weight: Leonardo Santos (17-4-1, 6-0-1 UFC, -165) vs. Roman Bogatov (10-0, 0-Zero UFC, +145)

(c) = defending champion