You really have to hand it to UFC president Dana White.
Even while other professional sports leagues are suffering continual difficulties in their attempts to keep things going during the COVID-19 pandemic, the premier MMA promotional company in the world has amazingly continued to put on stacked fight cards week after week.
UFC 251 on July 11 in Abu Dhabi is certainly another one of those.
In fact, UFC 251 boasts one of the most stacked lineups in recent history, and that’s especially the case now that it’s being topped by one of the most hotly anticipated fights of the year: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal.
UFC 251 takes place July 11 at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.
On top of that, judging by arguably the single most important metric of all for PPV cards, UFC 251 still stands out among the rest.
Because UFC 251 features three title fights on July 11, and that’s something that’s only happened five other times in company history.
3 UFC Title Fights at Welterweight, Featherweight and Bantamweight
UFC welterweight champion Usman will finally lock horns with “BMF” champ Masvidal in the main event.
In the co-main event, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will make his first title defense in a rematch against former champ Max Holloway.
The third title fight is for the vacant UFC bantamweight championship. Ranked contender Petr Yan and former featherweight champ Jose Aldo will do battle for that hardware.
It’s one of the biggest and most important fight cards of the year, and Heavy has you covered with everything you need to know about UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal.
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UFC 251 Time, Date, Location and How to Watch
What: UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal
When: Saturday, July 11
Where: UFC Fight Island on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
How to Watch: ESPN pay-per-view
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET (main card), 8:00 p.m. ET (prelims), 6:00 p.m. ET (early prelims)
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal Full Fight Card
The card listed below is per ESPN and subject to change.
UFC 251 Main Card (PPV)
Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2
Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas 2
Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant
UFC 251 Prelims (ESPN)
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jiri Prochazka
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Muslim Salikhov
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Dan Henry
Leonardo Santos vs. Roman Bogatov
UFC 251 Early Prelims (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
Marcin Tybura vs. Alexander Romanov
Raulian Paiva vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Karol Rosa vs. Vanessa Melo
Martin Day vs. Davey Grant
Quick Preview: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal
Usman, 33, was originally on his way to defending his 170-pound title against Jorge Masvidal earlier this year, but that fight fell through after the “BMF” champ demanded more money for the fight than UFC officials were willing to pay.
Masvidal subsequently asked to be released from his contract, and Usman agreed to take on the next best challenger instead. But when Gilbert Burns pulled out of UFC 251 due to illness just seven days before the fight, UFC officials turned their attention back to Masvidal.
Now Usman and Masvidal head into the Octagon to settle the score. Usman has been one of the most dominant champions in the company over the last year, and Masvidal is coming off a year in 2019 in which he deservedly earned Fighter of the Year nods all over the place.
Usman vs. Masvidal is sure to be one of the best fights of the year.
Quick Preview: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2
Last year, Volkanovski, 31, from Australia, notched a huge win over Holloway, 28, from Hawaii, to become UFC featherweight champion. That stunning upset ended Holloway’s 14-fight win streak at 145 pounds and set the new champ up for his own long reign.
Now the two fighters meet again to make sure the longtime king of the featherweight division didn’t just have an off night at UFC 245.
In the first fight, Volkanovski’s smart timing and solid strikes scored him the victory. On Fight Island he’ll need to do that same thing again if he hopes to remain UFC featherweight champ.
Quick Preview: Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo
Yan, 27, from Russia, is ranked No. 3 in the division so it makes some sense that he would get the chance to fight for the vacant bantamweight title. But Aldo, 33, from Brazil, appears only to be getting the chance because of star power.
What else could it be? The former featherweight champion has lost two straight fights but jumped ahead of way more worthy contenders in a very deep division to get the title shot.
Still, on paper Yan vs. Aldo is a fun fight, and the winner will take home UFC gold at 135 pounds.
Other Important UFC 251 Bouts
Other important bouts scheduled for UFC 251 on July 11 include former world champions, hopeful contenders and future stars.
The main card includes Jessica Andrade taking on Rose Namajunas in an important rematch between former women’s strawweight champions.
The other main card bout features rising women’s flyweight contender Amanda Ribas taking on Paige VanZant in what looks to be a crossroads bout.
Finally, 205-pound ace Volkan Oezdemir welcomes potential future star Jiri Prochazka to the UFC’s 205-pound ranks. That’s the featured bout of the prelims and the winner should figure big into the future of the light heavyweight ranks.
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal Promo Video
If all that failed to get you hyped about one of the biggest and best fight cards of the year, this UFC video asset should do the trick.
Watch this epic promo video for Usman vs. Masvidal.
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