Venue: Yas Island, City: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Date: July 11, 2020
UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal is a mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will take place on July 11, 2020 at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It was originally planned to take place on June 6 at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was eventually postponed on April 9 (see section below). In early June, it was confirmed that the event would instead take place in Abu Dhabi.
The event would have marked the promotion's second visit to Perth, following UFC 221 in February 2018. However, the promotion later announced on May 5 that it would officially postpone the realization of this event in Perth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While not officially announced by the organization, a UFC Featherweight Championship rematch between current champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway was originally expected to headline the event. The pairing first met at UFC 245, where Volkanovski defeated Holloway via unanimous decision to capture the title. Volkanovski indicated in late March that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he would postpone his title defense on the initial June 6 date.
A UFC Women's Flyweight Championship bout between current champion Valentina Shevchenko and Joanne Calderwood was expected to take place on the event's first date. However, Shevchenko was forced to withdraw from the event on March 31 due to a leg injury and the bout was postponed.
Yas Island was also the site for three previous UFC events in Abu Dhabi. One of them, UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Nelson, was held at du Arena. The other two events were held at temporary venues, UFC 112 and UFC 242 held 10 months earlier.
COVID-19 pandemic, relocation to Abu Dhabi
UFC president Dana White stated on April 7 that he was pursuing an international venue — described as a "private island" or "Fight Island" — to facilitate the hosting of events involving fighters impacted by U.S. travel restrictions.
On June 9, the UFC revealed that the "Fight Island" site would be Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and that it would host four UFC events in July. This event will also be the fourth UFC event held on Yas Island, with its most recent having been UFC 242 in September 2019. Additionally, there will be a 10 square mile (16 km) "safety zone" on the island restricted to essential personnel. The designated area includes access to amenities such as hotels, restaurants and a training cage on the beach.
A UFC Welterweight Championship bout between current champion Kamaru Usman (also The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians welterweight winner) and Gilbert Burns is expected to headline the event.
The previously mentioned UFC Featherweight Championship rematch between Volkanovski and Holloway is still expected to co-headline the event.
A UFC Bantamweight Championship bout for the vacant title between Petr Yan and former WEC and two-time UFC Featherweight Champion José Aldo is also expected to take place at the event. Former champion Henry Cejudo announced immediately after his title defense at UFC 249 that he would be relinquishing the title and retire from the sport.
Official Fight Card
|Welterweight||Kamaru Usman (c)||def.||Jorge Masvidal||Decision (unanimous) (50–45, 50–45, 49–46)||5||5:00|
|Featherweight||Alexander Volkanovski (c)||def.||Max Holloway||Decision (split) (47–48, 48–47, 48–47)||5||5:00|
|Bantamweight||Petr Yan||def.||José Aldo||TKO (punches)||5||3:24|
|Women's Strawweight||Rose Namajunas||def.||Jéssica Andrade||Decision (split) (29–28, 28–29, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Women's Flyweight||Amanda Ribas||def.||Paige VanZant||Submission (armbar)||1||2:21|
|Preliminary Card (ESPN / ESPN+)|
|Light Heavyweight||Jiří Procházka||def||Volkan Oezdemir||KO (punch)||2||0:49|
|Welterweight||Muslim Salikhov||def.||Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos||Decision (split) (30–27, 28–29, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Featherweight||Makwan Amirkhani||def.||Danny Henry||Technical Submission (anaconda choke)||1||3:15|
|Lightweight||Leonardo Santos||def.||Roman Bogatov||Decision (unanimous) (29–26, 29–26, 29–26)||3||5:00|
|Early Preliminary Card (ESPN / UFC Fight Pass / ESPN+)|
|Heavyweight||Marcin Tybura||def.||Maxim Grishin||Decision (unanimous) (30–27, 30–27, 30–26)||3||5:00|
|Catchweight (129 lb)||Raulian Paiva||def.||Zhalgas Zhumagulov||Decision (unanimous) (29–28, 29–28, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Catchweight (141 lb)||Karol Rosa||def.||Vanessa Melo||Decision (unanimous) (30–26, 30–26, 30–27)||3||5:00|
|Bantamweight||Davey Grant||def.||Martin Day||KO (punch)||3||2:38|
Kamaru Usman (c) def. Jorge Masvidal (3) — via unanimous decision (50-45 x 2, 49-46) — welterweight title
Alexander Volkanovski (c) def. Max Holloway (1) — via split decision (48-47 x 2, 47-48) — featherweight title
Petr Yan (3) def. Jose Aldo (6) — via fifth round TKO — bantamweight title
Rose Namajunas def. Jessica Andrade (1) — via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29) women’s strawweight
Amanda Ribas (14) def. Paige VanZant — via first round submission — women’s flyweight
Jiri Prochazka def. Volkan Oezdemir (7) — via second round KO — light heavyweight
Muslim Salikhov def. Elizeu dos Santos — via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) — welterweight
Makwan Amirkhani def. Danny Henry — via first round submission — featherweight
Leonardo Santos def. Roman Bogatov — via unanimous decision (29-26 x 3) — lightweight
Marcin Tybura def. Maxim Grishin — via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 30-26) — heavyweight
Raulian Paiva (14) def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov — via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3) — flyweight
Karol Rosa def. Vanessa Melo — via unanimous decision (30-26 x 2, 30-27) — women’s bantamweight
Davey Grant def. Martin Day — via third round KO — bantamweight
*Fights labeled as "may not be broadcast" are scheduled to take place before the live broadcast begins. These pre-recorded fights are inserted into the broadcast if time permits. However, due to broadcast time constraints some of these undercard bouts may not be seen on a broadcast. These additional bout can be found as bonus footage on the event DVD.