Since the announcement of UFC 251 being the first of four events scheduled to take place on the UFC’s Fight Island venue in Abu Dhabi, MMA fans around the world have been counting down the days to watch these much-anticipated fights.
This Saturday’s PPV was slated to have three, yes three championship bouts on the same card, which include the likes of Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title, Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway for the featherweight title, and Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns for the welterweight title.
If you are a follower of The Wrightway Sports Network, you may recall that I wrote an article which highlighted why Gilbert Burns deserved a title shot over the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington. I argued that given his dominant display against former welterweight champ, Tyron Woodley and his willingness to take the fight anytime, anywhere regardless of the money involved, allowed him to stand out as the true number one contender. While I still stand by this take, many developments have occurred since then.
Last Friday night, the UFC announced the cancellation of the Usman vs. Burns fight, specifically as Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19. Many fight fans including myself were disappointed but confident that the fight would be postponed to another card in the near future.
It was around then, going into Saturday morning, that reports of superstar, Jorge Masvidal, considering taking the fight with short notice began to emerge. Being the skeptic that I am, I never gave it much thought until ESPN’s Ariel Helwani finally announced via Twitter that Dana White and the UFC came to a contractual agreement with Masvidal’s reps to make this fight happen.
In what is yet another example as to why he truly is the BMF of the UFC, “Street Jesus” decided to take the fight despite not having a full fight camp and weighing in 20lbs over the division limit to get the money he had been seeking for months, as well as to show the world why Kamaru Usman is all hype.
In an interview with Helwani following the official announcement of the fight, Masvidal made a point of mentioning how he was going to “baptize” Usman and leave him unconscious for a long time. “Gamebred” went on to say that he hopes the referee trips on his way to stopping the fight once he knocks Kamaru out, to “get a couple extra shots in.”
Masvidal’s genuine bad blood with the champ brings the emotional edge that the first UFC 251 fight card lacked, which makes this event that much more intriguing.
I don’t know if Jorge Masvidal can end Kamaru Usman the way he says he will, given taking the fight with 6 days’ notice, as well as probably not being fully conditioned for a five round championship contest, but the fight is bound to be a classic either way. Being a Cuban American from Miami, FL myself, I know that the entirety of the city will be rooting for one of our own in Masvidal, hoping that he can make the unlikely a reality.
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