UFC 251: Usman vs Masvidal, Volkanovski vs Holloway - All you need to know

Three title fights - for the Welterweight, Featherweight and the vacant Bantamweight championships - will headline UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Jorge Masvidal (right) punches Nate Diaz at UFC 244 in New York on November 3, 2019. Masvidal took Burns’ spot for UFC 251 at short notice after a negative COVID-19 test in Las Vegas.   -  AP

Three title fights - for the Welterweight, Featherweight and the vacant Bantamweight championships - will headline UFC 251 at the Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday.

The welterweight main event in UAE was supposed to be contested between champion Kamaru Usman and #1 contender Gilbert Burns. However, just over a week before the event, Burns tested positive for coronavirus and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was forced to make a sudden change to headlining bout.

Jorge Masvidal, ranked #3 in the division, took Burns’ spot at short notice after a negative COVID-19 test in Las Vegas, United States. Masvidal, who has beaten Nate Diaz, Ben Askren and Darren Till in his last three UFC fights, is a popular fighter in the promotion. Hence, Sunday’s main event between him and Usman is set to become one of the most-watched clashes ever, considering the history between the stars as well.

ALSO READ | 'Fight Island' opens with three UFC titles up for grabs

Both the titleholder and challenger were involved in an altercation at the Super Bowl radio row in January this year and fans have been eager to see them fight inside the Octagon ever since.

Volkanovski vs Holloway

The co-main encounter on the night will pit Max Holloway against champion Alexander Volkanovski in a rematch of their UFC 245 fight. Volkanovski had won that bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, by unanimous decision after five rounds.

In another championship bout, Petr Yan and Jose Aldo will face off against each other for the vacant bantamweight title. The last champion in the division - Henry Cenjudo - retired after defending his title against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida, in May.

Aldo is a former three-time UFC featherweight champion and he had moved down to the bantamweight division only during October last year. Meanwhile, this will be unbeaten star Yan’s first title fight with the company.

ALSO READ | Dustin Poirier wins decision over Dan Hooker in thriller

The top two MMA artists in the women’s strawweight division’s contenders rankings - Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas - will be involved in one of the other contests on the main card. The winner of this bout will face champion Zhang Weili for the belt next.

Meanwhile, Amanda Ribas will take on Paige VanZant in a women’s flyweight clash to open the event on the Fight Island.

When is UFC 251: Usman vs Masvidal (according to IST)?
  • The event will be telecast live on July 12, Sunday, in India.

Where is UFC 251 taking place?
  • It is taking place at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

What time does the main card begin?
  • The event's main card will begin at 7:30 am IST (July 12).

Which TV channel will broadcast UFC 251 live in India?
  • You can watch the bouts live on Sony TEN 2 and Sony TEN 3 in India.

Where will the event be streamed live online?
  • Sony LIV will provide live online streaming for the event.

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.