The inaugural bust-up on Dana White’s ‘Fight Island’ is almost here. UFC 251 will see top level mixed martial artists do battle on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, with Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal set to take centre stage. Here’s all the info you need to watch and stream UFC 251.
UFC has already returned from lockdown, most recently with a fight of the year contender that took place between Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker in Las Vegas. However, White and the UFC believe that Fight Island will allow them to organise bouts between fighters from around the world, without the likelihood of being impacted by newly imposed regulations.
When is UFC 251? What time is Usman vs Burns?
UFC 251 starts on Saturday July 11, with four “early prelim” bouts. These early prelims start at 11PM BST, leading into the “prelim” bouts taking place from 1AM BST onwards.
The main card takes place from 3AM BST onwards.
How to watch UFC 251 in the UK
UK viewers can tune in on BT Sport, but a BT Sport subscription is required.
BT Sport will be showing further UFC Fight Night events on July 15, 18 and 25.
What is Fight Island?
Fight Island is Dana White’s ingenious solution to coronavirus lockdown. Abu Dhabi’s remote Yas Island allows the UFC’s organisers to create a safety zone over ten square miles, including a hotel, catering facilities and training areas.
Dana White told ESPN: “We really are putting an Octagon on the beach… There’s going to be training facilities there for people. There are hotels. And the whole island is going to be built, all the infrastructure is going to be built for the UFC to come do fights there.”
UFC 251 preview
Kamaru Usman was set to defend his UFC welterweight championship against Gilbert Burns. Now, following Burns testing positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, Masidval stepped up on only six days notice and tested negative for the virus.
Now, there’s a great main event lined up, with plenty of exciting supporting action scheduled to go ahead. Plenty of fans have been arguing that this main fight is actually more exciting than Usman vs Burns.
Usman is one of the most physically imposing welterweights in the division. He’s known for his immense fitness and flexible skillset, but his main grounding is in BJJ. He ably mixes grappling and striking and recently impressed fans with his durability, shrugging off heavy shots from his last opponent, Colby Covington.
Masidval his a very different background – overcoming a journeyman status in 2019, the 35-year-old posted three stoppage victories that took him to stardom. Now, he’s positioned to fight in one of the biggest bouts in the UFC.
At 35, some pundits are arguing Masidval is past his peak, but it’s hard to call his recent form into question. However, it remains to be seen how his fitness will stack up, having stepped into the fight at such short notice.
Beyond Usman and Masidval, the main card features a host of interest match-ups.
- Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway (featherweight title bout)
- Peter Yan vs Jose Aldo (vacant bantamweight title bout)
- Amanda Ribas vs Paige Vanzant (women’s flyweight bout)
- Jessica Andrade vs Rose Namajunas (women’s strawweight bout)
Want some action to whet your appetite for Fight Island? Watch the video below to see BT Sport’s highlights of the recent UFC clash between Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker in Las Vegas.