UFC 251

UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal
The official poster for UFC 251- Usman vs. Masvidal.jpg
The poster for UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal.
PromotionUltimate Fighting Championship
DateJuly 12, 2020 (2020-07-12)
Venuedu Forum
CityAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
AttendanceNone (behind closed doors)[1]
Event chronology
UFC on ESPN: Poirier vs. Hooker UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal UFC on ESPN: Kattar vs. Ige

UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal was a mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that took place on July 12, 2020 at the du Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.[3] It was originally planned to take place on June 6 at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.[4] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was eventually postponed on April 9 (see section below).[5] In early June, it was confirmed that the event would instead take place in Abu Dhabi.[3]


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.[6]

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 on June 6.[7] The pairing first met at UFC 245, where Volkanovski defeated Holloway via unanimous decision to capture the title.[8] Volkanovski indicated in late March that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he would postpone his title defense on the initial June 6 date.[9]

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.[10] However, Shevchenko was forced to withdraw from the event on March 31 due to a leg injury and the bout was postponed.[11]

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 Yas Island events, UFC 112 and UFC 242, were held at temporary venues.

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.[12][13]

On June 9, the UFC revealed that the "Fight Island" site would be Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and that it would also host four events in July.[3] This event was the fourth UFC event held on Yas Island overall, succeeding UFC 242 in September 2019. Additionally, there is 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.[14] The fights took place inside the du Forum — an indoor events arena. It does not have communal areas and those entering the site must go through "mist tunnels" to disinfect themselves from surface bacteria.[15][16]

Without fans in attendance, the promotion did not have to worry about scheduling the event for local primetime hours. The event was instead scheduled for prime time in the U.S. Eastern Time Zone; the full preliminary card began at approximately 2:00 am (July 12) Gulf Standard Time.[17]

A UFC Welterweight Championship bout between current champion Kamaru Usman (also The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians welterweight winner) and Gilbert Burns was expected to headline the event.[18] However, it was announced on July 3 that Burns was pulled from the contest after he and his coach, Greg Jones, tested positive for COVID-19.[19] Pending pre-fight testing and a 24-hour quarantine, Jorge Masvidal was expected to serve as his replacement.[20] After he passed his initial test, the new main event was confirmed.[21]

The previously mentioned UFC Featherweight Championship rematch between Volkanovski and Holloway co-headlined the event.[22]

A UFC Bantamweight Championship bout for the vacant title between Petr Yan and former WEC and two-time UFC Featherweight Champion José Aldo also took place at the event.[23] Former champion Henry Cejudo announced immediately after his title defense at UFC 249 that he would be relinquishing the title and retiring from the sport.[24]

The following fights were also rescheduled for this event, after being scrapped due to different reasons from their original bookings:

A bantamweight bout between Pedro Munhoz and former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar was briefly linked to the event. However, promotion officials elected to schedule the pairing for UFC on ESPN: Kattar vs. Ige four days later.[35]

A heavyweight bout between Marcin Tybura between Alexander Romanov was scheduled for the event. However, Romanov was pulled from the event after testing positive for COVID-19 and replaced by promotional newcomer Maxim Grishin.[36][37]

At the weigh-ins, Raulian Paiva and Vanessa Melo missed weight for their respective bouts. Paiva weighed in at 129 pounds, three pounds over the flyweight non-title fight limit. Melo weighed in at 141 pounds, five pounds over the bantamweight non-title fight limit. Both of their bouts proceeded at a catchweight and they were each fined 20% and 30% of their individual purses, which went to their opponents Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Karol Rosa.[38]


Main card
Weight class Method Round Time Notes
Welterweight Kamaru Usman (c) def. Jorge Masvidal Decision (unanimous) (50–45, 50–45, 49–46) 5 5:00 [a]
Featherweight Alexander Volkanovski (c) def. Max Holloway Decision (split) (47–48, 48–47, 48–47) 5 5:00 [b]
Bantamweight Petr Yan def. José Aldo TKO (punches) 5 3:24 [c]
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 [d]
Early Preliminary Card (ESPN / ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
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
  1. ^ For the UFC Welterweight Championship.
  2. ^ For the UFC Featherweight Championship.
  3. ^ For the vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship.
  4. ^ Bogatov was deducted 2 points in round 3 for multiple low blows and an illegal knee.


Bonus awards

The following fighters received $50,000 bonuses.[40]

  • Fight of the Night: Rose Namajunas vs. Jéssica Andrade
  • Performance of the Night: Jiří Procházka and Davey Grant

Records set

The event had a total fight time of 3 hours, 7 minutes and 27 seconds, surpassing the previous record holder UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Mousasi.[41]

See also


  1. ^ Thomas Ling (2020-07-09). "Where is UFC Fight Island? Inside UFC 251 location in pictures". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  2. ^ Mike Coppinger (2020-07-13). "Sources: UFC 251 generates around 1.3 million PPV buys, most since 2018". theathletic.com. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  3. ^ a b c Farah Hannoun (2020-06-09). "UFC 'Fight Island' is ... Yas Island, Abu Dhabi". MMA Junkie. USA Today, Gannett Company. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  4. ^ Staff (2020-02-25). "Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanne Calderwood title fight heads to UFC 251 in Perth, Australia". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  5. ^ Damon Martin (2020-04-09). "UFC 249, upcoming events postponed due to coronavirus pandemic, Dana White promises 'Fight Island' will proceed". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  6. ^ Staff (2020-05-05). "UFC officially pulls plug on Perth's UFC 251 date". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-05-07.
  7. ^ Mookie Alexander (2020-02-25). "Alex Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway rematch to headline UFC 251". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  8. ^ Danny Segura (2019-12-15). "UFC 245 results: Alexander Volkanovski dethrones Max Holloway, captures UFC featherweight belt". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  9. ^ Sam Bruce (2020-03-29). "Alexander Volkanovski puts UFC title defense on ice amid coronavirus pandemic". espn.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  10. ^ Mike Bohn (2020-02-20). "Champ Valentina Shevchenko meets Joanne Calderwood at UFC 251 in June". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  11. ^ Danny Segura (2020-03-31). "Valentina Shevchenko injured; UFC 251 title fight vs. Joanne Calderwood on hold". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
  12. ^ Steven Marrocco (2020-04-07). "Dana White's COVID-19 plan: Two months of weekly fights at UFC 249 location, a private island, and Joe Rogan". MMAFighting.com. Vox Media. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  13. ^ Brett Okamoto (2020-04-07). "UFC's White: Secured private island for fights". ESPN. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  14. ^ Brett Okamoto (2020-06-09). "White: Fight Island is in UAE, will host UFC 251". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  15. ^ Kevin Iole (2020-07-07). "Abu Dhabi's 'Fight Island' could become a lot more familiar if COVID-19 shuts down Las Vegas again". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  16. ^ Ben Collins (2020-07-10). "UFC 251: 'Beautiful, surreal, insane' - what's Fight Island really like?". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  17. ^ Wagenheim, Jeff (2020-06-11). "What we know and don't know about 'Fight Island'". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  18. ^ Farah Hannoun (2020-06-09). "Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns headlines UFC 251 on 'Fight Island' in Abu Dhabi". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  19. ^ Mike Bohn (2020-07-03). "Gilbert Burns tests positive for COVID-19, out of UFC 251 headliner vs. Kamaru Usman". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  20. ^ Mike Bohn and John Morgan (2020-07-05). "Jorge Masvidal steps in on six days' notice to fight Kamaru Usman at UFC 251". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-07-05.
  21. ^ Mike Bohn (2020-07-06). "Jorge Masvidal passes COVID-19 test; UFC makes Kamaru Usman title fight official". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  22. ^ Nolan King (2020-06-09). "Jorge Masvidal passes COVID-19 test; UFC makes Kamaru Usman title fight official". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  23. ^ Farah Hannoun (2020-06-09). "Jose Aldo vs. Petr Yan bantamweight title fight set for UFC 251 on 'Fight Island'". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  24. ^ Matt Erickson (2020-05-10). "Shocker: Henry Cejudo stops Dominick Cruz, then announces MMA retirement at UFC 249". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  25. ^ Dave Doyle and Mike Bohn (2020-06-03). "Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade rematch booked for UFC's July 11 card". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  26. ^ Sohail Syed (2019-05-12). "UFC 237 results – Jessica Andrade KO's Rose Namajunas in round 2, wins strawweight belt". mmaindia.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  27. ^ Mike Bohn (2020-01-09). "Rose Namajunas, Jessica Andrade agree to rematch at UFC 249 in Brooklyn". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  28. ^ Marc Raimondi and Ariel Helwani (2020-04-08). "Rose Namajunas pulls out of UFC 249 bout vs. Jessica Andrade". espn.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  29. ^ Newswire (2020-04-09). "Manager: Rose Namajunas withdrew from UFC 249 after COVID-19 deaths in family". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  30. ^ Staff (2020-05-10). "Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Ciryl Gane at UFC 251's IFW week event". mmadna.nl. Retrieved 2020-06-09. (in Dutch)
  31. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2020-03-05). "Ciryl Gane out of UFC 249 fight with Shamil Abdurakhimov". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  32. ^ Staff (2020-04-14). "Sergei Pavlovich encounters Ciryl Gane during the August 8 event". mmadna.nl. Retrieved 2020-06-15. (in Dutch)
  33. ^ Raphael Marinho (2020-05-21). "Fight between Amanda Ribas and Paige VanZant is rescheduled for July 11 by UFC". globoesporte.globo.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09. (in Portuguese)
  34. ^ Jay Pettry (2020-01-24). "Report: Paige VanZant out, Randa Markos in against Amanda Ribas at UFC Brasilia". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  35. ^ Ross Markey (2020-06-16). "Pedro Munhoz vs. Frankie Edgar moved to UFC event on July 15th". fightbookmma.com. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  36. ^ Staff (2020-07-03). "Former WFCA champion Maxim Grishin makes UFC debut on July 11 at UFC 251". mmadna.nl. Retrieved 2020-07-03. (in Dutch)
  37. ^ Nolan King (2020-07-09). "Gym: Alexander Romanov was removed from UFC 251 due to positive COVID-19 tests". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
  38. ^ Alexander K. Lee (2020-07-10). "UFC 251 weigh-in results: Kamaru Usman, Jorge Masvidal make weight, all title fights official". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  39. ^ "UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal". Ultimate Fighting Championship. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  40. ^ Dave Doyle (2020-07-12). "UFC 251 bonuses: Rose Namajunas-Jessica Andrade war nets 'Fight of the Night' honors". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  41. ^ Mike Bohn (2020-12-29). "UFC in 2020: A ridiculously robust look at the stats, streaks, skids, and records". mmajunkie.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2021-01-15.


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