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The Ultimate Fighting Championship kicks off its "Fight Island" series of events with a pay-per-view offering featuring three title fights, which are all now official.
Headlining the card is the welterweight title grudge match between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Two other titles are on the line as Alexander Volkanovski will look to defend his featherweight belt against Max Holloway, and Petr Yan faces Jose Aldo in a fight that will crown a new bantamweight champion after Henry Cejudo retired.
While Usman started his mixed martial arts career a pedestrian 1-1, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has won 15 straight fights since then. He upset Tyron Woodley last year to win the belt and followed it up with a “Fight of the Year” contender against Colby Covington. He’ll now look to make another successful title defense against a fighter he’s had a war of words with. The champion had little issue making weight and came in at 170 pounds.
While he took the fight on just a week’s notice, this will be nothing new for Masvidal (35-13), who is always willing to scrap whether backstage or in a backyard in Miami. “Gamebred” lives up to his nickname in every way and is on the best streak of his career having picked up knockout wins over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. He’ll look to add UFC champion to his impressive list of accomplishments. Despite the short notice, Masvidal looked good on the scales and weighed 170 pounds.
Although 13 fights in total are now official after the weigh-ins took place, Raulian Paiva (129)* and Vanessa Melo (141)** both badly missed weight. Paiva came in three pounds over the flyweight limit and was fined 20 percent of his purse, while Melo tipped the scales five pounds above the bantamweight limit and has surrendered 30 percent of her purse.
UFC 251’s main card will air live on pay-per-view beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will be on ESPN and ESPN+ starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. The first two hours of prelims will also air live on UFC Fight Pass.
UFC 251 Weigh-in Results:Kamaru Usman (170) vs. Jorge Masvidal (170)
Alexander Volkanovski (145) vs. Max Holloway (145)
Petr Yan (135) vs. Jose Aldo (135)
Jessica Andrade (115) vs. Rose Namajunas (116)
Volkan Oezdemir (205.5) vs. Jiri Prochazka (205)
Paige VanZant (126) vs. Amanda Ribas (126)
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (171) vs. Muslim Salikhov (171)
Makwan Amirkhani (146) vs. Danny Henry (146)
Leonardo Santos (156) vs. Roman Bogatov (155.5)
Marcin Tybura (252) vs. Maxim Grishin (223)
Zhalgas Zhumagulov (126) vs. Raulian Paiva (129)*
Karol Rosa (136) vs. Vanessa Melo (141)**
Martin Day (136) vs. Davey Grant (136)
* Paiva missed weight by three pounds and has been fined 20 percent of his purse.
** Melo missed weight by five pounds and has been fined 30 percent of her purse.