UFC Fight Island sounds like something out of a Tom Cruise action-film, so it’s an appropriate setting for a clash between Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman which is sure to produce plenty of drama at UFC 251.
Long story short, the pair don’t like each other. They’ve been involved in a high-profile war of words for some time and are reported to have taken separate planes to Fight Island, which is actually on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Their fists (plus knees, feet and whatever else they want to harm each other with) will do the talking on Sunday morning as the main event on a card which also includes Alexander Volkanovski versus Max Holloway.
It’s all set up to be a huge few hours, and we’ve previewed the main fights in our UFC 251 Betting Tips.
Masvidal v Usman, Welterweight
Masvidal only took this fight after Usman’s original opponent Gilbert Burns was forced to pull out late in the day with suspected Covid-19 symptoms. That lack of preparation is expected to cost the 35-year-old in the octagon.
However, what he’s missing in preparedness he may make up for in ambition. This is Masvidal’s first title shot in UFC in his 19th fight, and as one of the best strikers in the division, he has every chance of causing an upset at 5/2.
The bad news for Masvidal is that he’s facing an opponent in Usman who is considered one of the best all-rounders in the business at the moment, not least because of his dominance on the floor. He’s 2/5 to win this for a reason.
The 6ft star is on a 15-fight winning streak and became the UFC Welterweight Champion last time out. That’s in large part down to his wrestling ability, which is why our traders make him a 13/5 shot to win by KO/TKO or Submission.
Volkanovski v Holloway, Featherweight
It’s a similar tale of the odds in this Featherweight title clash, where current champion Alexander Volkanovski is rated as a 2/5 chance to retain his title against the previous champion and 15/8 chance Max Holloway.
Volkanovski stole the belt away from Holloway with a decision victory when the pair last met at UFC 245 in December, and we go even-money about a repeat outcome this time around.
The Aussie fighter claimed he felt ‘disrespected’ by the close-natured result of the initial bout, but that’ll be nothing compared to how he feels if Holloway can guard against those damaging leg kicks and regain his title here.
Yan v Aldo, Bantamweight
There’s a vacant UFC Bantamweight belt to be won following Henry Cejudo’s retirement, and both Petr Yan and Jose Aldo reckon they’re the ones to fill it.
Yan is the more experienced fighter and was a prominent critic of the previous champion for ‘ducking him and avoiding a title fight’, so now he’s got his chance, he’ll need to take it.
The Russian is in much the better form with five straight wins coming into this, while Aldo will need to reverse a run of five defeats in eight in total in what is only is second Bantamweight fight.
Our traders reckon the belt should be going home with Yan, who’s a 4/9 chance to win outright and 11/4 to inflict a third straight decision defeat on Aldo, who’s available to back at 7/4.
UFC 251 FIGHT INFO:
Where: UFC Fight Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
When: 3am (UK Time), Sunday 12th July 2020.
How to watch: BT Sport 1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing