- UFC Fight Island officially arrives on Saturday, July 11th
- Jorge Masvidal steps in on six days’ notice to fight Kamaru Usman in the main event
- See the odds, picks, and betting preview for the full UFC 251 card below
Welcome to Fight Island.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, UFC president Dana White said he would be locating an island for international fighters to step into the octagon. Well, after many people were thinking of a tropical island in the Pacific, Fight Island is here but it just happens to be Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
In the main event of the stacked UFC 251 card, Kamaru Usman looks to defend his welterweight title against the BMF champion Jorge Masvidal. The co-main event sees Alex Volkanovski looking for his first featherweight title defense when he rematches Max Holloway. The card also sees the vacant bantamweight title on the line as Petr Yan battles Jose Aldo.
UFC 251 airs live on pay-per-view this Saturday, July 11th, 10 pm ET. The table below shows odds for the entire main card at two different sportsbooks, followed by best bets for the event.
UFC 251 Odds
|Fighter||Book 1 Odds||Book 2 Odds|
Odds taken July 6.
Can Masvidal Continue His Hot Streak?
Kamaru Usman (16-1) is undefeated in the UFC and successfully defended his welterweight title for the first time in his last fight. “The Nigerian Nightmare” hasn’t fought since UFC 245 last December where he scored a fifth-round TKO win over Colby Covington to defend his strap. He won the title last March with a dominant decision win over Tyron Woodley. In his UFC tenure, Usman has beaten the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Demian Maia, and Leon Edwards. He also won The Ultimate Fighter 21.
Jorge Masvidal (35-13) is getting the title shot that many thought should’ve been his in the first place. “Gamebred” had an incredible 2019 where he knocked out Darren Till, then had the five-second flying knee KO of Ben Askren and finished the year by beating Nate Diaz to win the BMF title. In his career, he has notable wins over Donald Cerrone, Ross Pearson, and Michael Chiesa.
It doesn’t happen often that when the UFC loses its main event, the replacement fight is better than the original. The one other case that comes to mind is UFC 196 when Nate Diaz stepped in to replace Rafael dos Anjos to battle Conor McGregor.
Originally, the main event of UFC 251 was supposed to be Usman vs. his friend and teammate, Gilbert Burns. Yet, the Brazilain tested positive for COVID-19 leaving the UFC to go back to Masvidal and get a deal done.
Although this is a phenomenal fight, I just wish both of them had a full camp to prepare for each other. I’ve talked to some people at American Top Team where Masvidal trains, where they said he was training hard as he believed either Burns or Usman wouldn’t make it to the fight. But, whether or not he was training for five hard rounds is another question.
In this fight, the big question is can Jorge Masvidal stuff the takedowns of Kamaru Usman. And, unfortunately for Gamebred fans, I just don’t see that happening. I don’t see anyone at welterweight who can beat Usman and I believe the champ will go for takedowns early and often and grind out Masvidal for a decision win or perhaps a late ground and pound finish.
Usman was also training in Colorado with Trevor Wittman and Justin Gaethje at an elevation which should only improve his cardio and all-around game. Yet, having said that, as evident by 2019, you can never count out Jorge Masvidal.
Pick: Kamaru Usman (-280)
Usman vs Masvidal Key Stats
Can Holloway Regain His Throne?
Alex Volkanovski (21-1) is riding a very impressive 18-fight winning streak while being 8-0 inside the UFC. Last time out, the Aussie beat Max Holloway convincingly to win the featherweight title. During his run, he has notable wins over Jose Aldo, a finish over Chad Mendes, and wins over Darren Elkins and Jeremy Kennedy.
Max Holloway (21-5) had a rough 2019 where he went 1-2. He started out the year losing to Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 for the interim lightweight title. The Hawaiian then went back to featherweight where he defended his belt against Frankie Edgar before losing the strap to Volkanovski. He has notable wins over Jose Aldo, twice, Anthony Pettis and Brian Ortega.
This is such an interesting rematch. In the first fight, I thought Volkanovski won four rounds with there being a case he won all five. He just had an answer for everything Holloway had. Yet, the Hawaiian is arguably the greatest featherweight of all-time and will no doubt make some necessary adjustments. But, I just think Volkanovski has his number and will beat the Hawaiian in back-to-back fights.
Although Volkanovski is a sizeable favorite, I think the best way to bet this fight is the fight ends inside the distance. Many assume it will go to a decision again, but there will be no feeling out process and I know the Aussie wants to finish Holloway to prove he is better. So, the pick is Volkanovski to win by third or fourth-round TKO.
Pick: Alex Volkanovski (-225)
Other UFC 251 Picks
- Petr Yan (-235): I have Petr Yan winning this by KO within three rounds, and I think he should be around a -350 favorite, so the value is still there to bet him.
- Rose Namajunas (-195): Namajunas is a better mixed martial artist and will piece up the Brazilian on the feet to get a decision win.
- Amanda Ribas (-850): Ribas should win this fight, but there is no way you should lay -850 on her. It is a dog-or-pass situation.