What you need to know.
The Ultimate Fighting Championships have officially landed in Abu Dhabi for what has to be the most exciting evening in sports since UFC 249. No fans, but a private island can make for an interesting setting. Fighters from across the globe will meet this Saturday to put on what might just be the most interesting card ever.
When: Saturday, July 11
Time: Prelims begin – 8:00 p.m.
Main Card – 10:00 p.m.
Venue: UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi – Yas Island aka Fight Island begins!
TV: catch the prelims on ESPN (US) or TSN (Canada)
Main Card – Pay-per-view via ESPN+ (US) or Pay-per-view (Canada)
What do we have here.
Kamaru Usman (-235) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+185) – Welterweight Championship bout
The last-minute step in of Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (35-13) has taken this main event to a whole new level. Kamaru Usman (16-1) is looking to defend his belt for the second time in as many months. This time, the champ is likely to take a different approach rather than stand and trade with the striker – the ground game is where Usman will want to be. With Masvidal’s explosive and one-punch power, this main event could possibly swing his way with a lucky strike. It will be interesting to see how dialed in the fighters will be with so much on the line and zero fans in attendance. The “Nigerian Nightmare” will no doubt, take the calculated route and grind his opponent down throughout the course of the 5 rounds. Wait a minute – there will be 5 x 5 round events this evening – let that sink in. Back to the fight. There is that slight chance Masvidal pulls out the victory and with (+185) odds, he might be an option to take a second look at. But for now, AND STILL, Kamaru will come out on top.
The Corner’s Pick: Usman (Decision – unanimous)
Alexander Volkanovski (-225) vs. Max Holloway (+175) – Featherweight Championship bout
REMATCH Alert! The UFC undoubtedly offered Holloway (21-5) another shot at winning back what the most prolific Featherweight of all time, is entitled to – the undisputed belt. In their last matchup, just 7 months ago, Volkanovski (21-1) absolutely put on a striking clinic and cleaned up Max’s best weapon in the stand-up game. This bout, expect nothing less from both ends of the octagon. One is hungry to be called the champ once again, and one is looking to put this championship reign to rest once and for all and begin a new era in the Featherweight division. Alex “The Great” seems to have exactly what Max cannot match in the striking game. Look for a repeat decision victory from the Aussie.
The Corner’s Pick: Volkanovski (Decision – unanimous)
Petr Yan (-210) vs Jose Aldo (+175) – Bantamweight Championship bout
This one is bound to be electric. Yan (14-1) is the next best thing to happen to this Bantamweight division, and it is time to see why. After piecing up the majority of his opponents, Petr “No Mercy” is on a one-way ticket to being named the next undisputed champion after Henry Cejudo’s surprise retirement. Some say Yan may have been on the list of “cons” when deciding to retain or relinquish the belt after his latest title defense. Jose Aldo (28-6) is probably even scratching his head as to why he was next in line for a title shot? Yes, he is one of the greats, but the trajectory of these two careers are trending in completely opposite directions. In no world will this go the distance with Yan in the cage and the belt on the line. Aldo will have to find a new notch in his game to even have a chance at having his hand raise – if he is not already asleep on the canvas. Yan takes a round to warm up and get friendly with his opponents, and then it’s game over.
The Corner’s Pick: Petr Yan (TKO – 2nd round)
UFC 251 is only hours away, get your picks in today!