UFC 251 will host three title fights according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani . The journalist reported in June that UFC officials did everything possible to put together a pay-per-view card for this July 11 and that it would probably be the first UFC card on Fight Island. “
According to Helwani, the three UFC title fights planned for UFC 251 include the rematch between UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway; Petr Yan vs. José Aldo, a fight that is supposed to fill the UFC bantamweight championship vacancy and the upcoming defense of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
You can watch Helwani discuss the UFC plans below. If you can’t see it, enter here .
According to @arielhelwani, UFC 251 is currently expected to have three championship fights — Volkanovski vs. Holloway, Yan vs. Aldo, Usman defending his title — and take place on "Fight Island" on July 11. pic.twitter.com/8T6twJUmA1
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 9, 2020
Volkanovski-Holloway rematch looks destined for UFC 251
Volkanovski-Holloway 2 was originally on its way to becoming the UFC 251 main event when the card was scheduled for June 6 in Perth, Australia.
Volkanovski originally defeated Holloway at UFC 245 in December to take the belt. It was a strong victory that ended Holloway’s long reign at the top of the UFC featherweight division and established Volkanovski, 31, as a rising star.
Volkanovski ended Holloway’s 14-game winning streak in the featherweight division at UFC 245. He also gave Holloway his first loss in the division since 2013.
During the fight, Volkanovski constantly kept Holloway guessing and was able to make him pay for all five rounds enough to clinch the title.
Now it looks like the rematch is on the way, even though it seemed like the fight could be completely off the table after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Yan vs. Aldo for the UFC Bantamweight Championship
The original plan for the main main event when UFC 251 was scheduled for June 6 in Perth, this was the upcoming defense of women’s lightweight title Valentina Shevchenko against No. 3 ranked contender Joanne Calderwood.
But Shevchenko is recovering from injury right now, so UFC officials have turned in her place to fill the bantamweight vacancy created by Henry Cejudo’s sudden retirement after “Triple C” beat Dominick. Cruz at UFC 249 with a battle between Petr Yan and José Aldo.
Most would agree that Petr Yan, number 3 in the ranking, probably deserves to fight for the vacant title. But Aldo has lost two straight fights entering the contest and the performances of several high-ranking bantamweight contenders at UFC 250 over the weekend, such as former champion Cody Garbrandt and No. 2 contender Aljamain Sterling, question how and why the UFC would choose Aldo over other options.
All that said, Aldo is a former decorated champion who should produce real fireworks inside the Octagon against Yan. It may not be the right fight, but it’s probably fun.
Usman vs. Burns for the UFC Welterweight Championship
Finally, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman appeared to be on his way to face Jorge Masvidal. Only hours are left for this great battle.
Burns was supposed to challenge Usman for the UFC welterweight championship this Saturday night (July 11). That is no longer the case, since “Durinho” tested positive for COVID-19. Masvidal and the UFC were able to reach an agreement, so now “Gamebred” will receive the title opportunity that many expected.
During a live conversation on social media, Gilbert Burns expressed the following : “I hope it is a good fight, but I think it will be very boring. You guys are going to miss me. ” He added: “I think it will be a boring fight on Saturday.”
Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns will headline UFC 251 on July 11. https://t.co/b9Rs2zXdpM
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) June 9, 2020
Usman has been one of the toughest outs in the sport of late, and the 33-year-old had a brilliant performance against Colby Covington at UFC 245 to end the year in a strong way. But Masvidal is not far behind, always known as a true fighter happy to share the cage with any willing partner. Masvidal rose to superstar status in 2019, but a victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 would forever elevate the legacy of “Gamebred.”