UFC 251 Online
One of the best overall fight cards the promotion has ever put on is almost set to start. UFC 251, live from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, starts on Saturday night in the U.S. (Sunday morning local) with three title fights on the marquee. In the main event, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman puts his title on the line against fan-favorite Jorge Masvidal. The native of Miami got the call on just six days’ notice after top contender Gilbert Burns was forced to withdraw following the results of his COVID-19 test.
Usman and Masvidal have had beef over the last seven months as they negotiated back and forth to get a deal done, getting into an altercation at Super Bowl radio row. But Masvidal and UFC couldn’t come to terms until this week when the promotion called him over the holiday weekend.
Some of the reasons that this card is one of the biggest ever are those other title fights before Usman vs. Masvidal. Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway are set to rematch for the featherweight title after Volkanovski ended the Hawaiian’s run as champ in December 2019 by split decision. Holloway has been champing at the bit for his chance at a rematch against the native of New Zealand.
Plus, Petr Yan is set to take on former featherweight king Jose Aldo in a battle for the vacant bantamweight crown. Henry Cejudo dropped the title shortly after announcing his retirement from the sport in May. Yan has been on a roll while Aldo has lost two straight fights.Just when you think nothing in MMA will surprise you anymore, Jorge Masvidal goes and accepts the initial UFC title fight of his career on six days’ notice.
And You know everything? I will definitely fall for it . Though I’ll try to remember moving forward that I know nothing, and this game will always out-bizarre itself out of the week before — at some point I’ll drop my guard and think,”Well, certainly today I have seen everything.” And MMA will have to humble me again.
Remember the time Conor McGregor threw a dolly in a bus while other fighters were still aboard? That was at the same event where Tony Ferguson withdrew from a title bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov because he was injured tripping on a cable during a TV look , also Max Holloway stepped in on days’ notice, only to be ruled out in the midst of his weight cut.
Or how about the time the UFC transferred an whole event out of Las Vegas to California because the Nevada commission wouldn’t permit Jon Jones over an irregular drug test discovering that popped up in the last minute near Christmas? Or Anderson Silva agreed to fight Daniel Cormier in UFC 200 on two weeks’ notice, two weeks after undergoing surgery to remove his gall bladder?
The Common denominator in all these is the UFC’s absolute”The Show Must Go On” mindset… and the openness and courage of its fighters to jump at these chances. And maybe it’s because we are in the middle of a global pandemic which has, for the most part, destroyed sports so far from 2020, but that shared mentality feels like the best aspect of the game right now, does not it?
How great is it that Masvidal, that has fought 48 days in his profession How great is it Usman, that has sooooo much to lose in this scenario, didn’t blink over changing opponents? And how great is it that the UFC did what it took to make this happen, even if it had two other title fights still on the UFC 251 pay-per-view?
I’ll admit, when the UFC Was so bullish before this season about continuing to promote fights during a pandemic, I thought about the character of the product. Would the UFC be able to book its very best matchups with all the logistical hurdles that would exist? And would the performances of the athletes suffer under the extraordinary circumstances they face?
As It has proven, the sport has not missed a beat. Arguably, there has Never been a better example of why this game is so fascinating and Unpredictable than the previous several months.