On Saturday, July 11, the UFC hosted UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The event once again featured no fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the night’s main event, welterweight king Kamaru Usman took on late-notice opponent Jorge Masvidal. Usman entered his second title defense riding a 15-fight winning streak that included a fifth-round stoppage of Colby Covington in his last Octagon appearance. He was originally slated to face his teammate, Gilbert Burns, but the Brazilian tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced off the card. Masvidal, the reigning BMF titleholder, had scored three straight finishes to surge into title contention. The veteran most recently topped Nate Diaz at UFC 244 in November.
The co-main event featured a featherweight title rematch between Australian champion Alexander Volkanovski and former divisional kingpin Max Holloway. The pair met at UFC 245 in December, with Volkanovski extending his winning streak to 18 with a decision triumph.
Rounding out the title tripleheader, Russia’s Petr Yan clashed with MMA legend José Aldo for the vacant bantamweight strap.
The event kicked off with four fights streaming live on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET. Four additional preliminary-card bouts followed at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, with the five-fight main card airing live on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.