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UFC 251 Preview 11 July, 2020   

What a crazy 4th of July weekend for the UFC world. UFC 251 will take place July 11th at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. Coming into the weekend we were expecting 3 title fights in this star studded card. The bantamweight title between Peter Yan and Jose Aldo, the featherweight title rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Halloway, and what we thought was going to be Kamara Usman defending the welterweight belt against Gilbert burns. However, With Gilbert Burns withdrawing from testing positive for covid, Jorge Masvidal answers the call and is stepping up on 6 days notice for not only the Welterweight title but also the BMF belt. After Jorge Masvidal went back and forth with Dana white about not getting paid enough they finally were able to come to a deal and send Masvidal off to fight on the island. This is a fantastic fight and I honestly cannot wait to see how it pans out. Kamara Usman who stands with a pro record of 16-1 is the Vegas favorite with odds of -240 while Masvidal is the underdog at +190. There is a lot to talk about with this action packed main card so let’s dive into it. 

Kamara Usman is rightfully so the favorite after his insanely successful journey to the welterweight title. With wins over Tyron woodley and Colby Covington it is no surprise that Usman is the favorite. Usman is known for his dominance in fights controlling the pace and style for all 5 rounds ultimately resulting in mostly unanimous decision wins. Usman stands 6’0 170 pounds with a 76 inch reach. He uses his strength and absurd cardio to tire his opponents out with his Jiu Jitsu on the canvas and consistently landing heavy strikes to his opponent’s head.. Although he isn’t known for his KO punches or quick stoppages, he is one of the smartest fighters in UFC at controlling his fights and establishing pure dominance. Usman's last fight versus Colby Covington was an action packed fight that questionably got called off in the 5th round after Usman knocked him down and finished with repeating hammerfists to the head.. Usman has been training in Colorado with teammate Justin Gatchie in preparation for Gilbert Burns who is a prodimant grappler with some explosive striking. 

We finally get the fight everyone wanted with Masvidal stepping up to replace the covid sick burns. Masvidal has had a long professional career at 35-13 but after taking a long break in 2017 he has won 3 fights since and took home fighter of the year in 2019. It began with a KO recorded against Darren Till in the 3rd round and then followed up with the fastest knockout in UFC history at 5 seconds with a flying knee to Ben Askren’s jaw. His latest fight in November of 2019, he fought Nate Diaz which resulted in a 4th round TKO due to a gash in Diaz’s eye the size of a pretzel stick. Masvidal has been brilliant in every fight showing his ridiculous power and creative combinations. Masvidal is an aggressive striker who likes to pressure his opponents into walking into his fists of fury. However, Masvidal is an average grappler with subpar Jiu Jitsu. With his takedown defense being only 42%, it could turn into a major problem for him. 

Usman can win this fight by playing to his strengths. If he can get a couple early takedowns and tire masvidal out he will almost definitely win this fight by decision after 5 or even possibly record a KO against Masvidal by full mount or posturing up. With Usman's incredible cardio the longer this fight goes the better chance he has to win. Look for Usman to control the ground and slowly work on Masvidal to get the win. On the other side Masvidal’s strategy is completely opposite. He will need to come out fast and look to land multiple body shots and mix up his combos to try to stun Usman or knock him down. His take down defense is gonna have to be superb so Usman doesn’t tire him out. When these fighters are on their feet it clearly favors Masvidal. This fight is really a win win for Masvidal because he is getting paid the bag and if he loses he has the excuse of fighting on only 6 days notice. If he wins, he's not only the welterweight champ but could possibly drag Mcgregor out of retirement. That being said I think Kamara Usman is just too strong for masvidal especially on only 6 days of notice and not a full training camp and I expect him to win by unanimous decision. The bet I’m placing for this fight is Kamara Usman to win by decision at +135. This fight could go either way and we’re getting one of the best fights we could ask for.


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