You really have to hand it to UFC president Dana White.
Where other professional sports leagues have suffered continual start and stop attempts in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and most have even yet to come up with viable plans for resuming action, the premier MMA promotional company in the world has amazingly continued to put on stacked fight cards week after week.
UFC 251 on July 11 certainly is one of those. In fact, UFC 251 boasts one of the most stacked UFC pay-per-view cards in history if judging by the most important metric of all: world title fights.
UFC 251 will have three of them. That’s only happened five other times in the history of the company.
3 UFC Title Fights at Welterweight, Featherweight and Bantamweight
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will lock horns with surging contender Gilbert Burns in the main event.
In the co-main event, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will make his first title defense in a rematch against former champ Max Holloway.
The third title fight is for the vacant UFC bantamweight championship. Ranked contender Petr Yan and former featherweight champ Jose Aldo will do battle for that hardware.
It’s one of the biggest and most important fight cards of the year, and Heavy has you covered with everything you need to know about UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns.
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UFC 251 Time, Date, Location and How to Watch
What: UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns
When: Saturday, July 11
Where: UFC Fight Island on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
How to Watch: ESPN pay-per-view
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET (main card), 8:00 p.m. ET (prelims), 6:00 p.m. ET (early prelims)
UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns Full Fight Card
The card listed below is per ESPN and subject to change.
UFC 251 Main Card (PPV)
Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2
Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas 2
Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant
UFC 251 Prelims (ESPN)
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jiri Prochazka
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Muslim Salikhov
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Dan Henry
Leonardo Santos vs. Roman Bogatov
UFC 251 Early Prelims (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
Marcin Tybura vs. Alexander Romanov
Raulian Paiva vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Karol Rosa vs. Vanessa Melo
Martin Day vs. Davey Grant
Quick Preview: Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns
Usman, 33, was originally on his way to defending his 170-pound title against Jorge Masvidal, but that fight fell through after the “BMF” champ demanded more money for the fight than UFC officials were willing to pay.
Masvidal subsequently asked to be released from his contract, and Usman agreed to take the next best challenger instead, and Burns stepped up to the plate.
Here’s the thing, though. Burns, 33, from Brazil, might actually be the most dangerous challenger in the division, so Usman-Burns is one heck of a backup plan.
Quick Preview: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2
Last year, Volkanovski, 31, from Australia, notched a huge win over Holloway, 28, from Hawaii, to become UFC featherweight champion. That stunning upset ended Holloway’s 14-fight win streak at 145 pounds and set the new champ up for his own long reign.
Now the two fighters meet again to make sure the longtime king of the featherweight division didn’t just have an off night at UFC 245.
In the first fight, Volkanovski’s smart timing and solid strikes scored him the victory. On Fight Island he’ll need to do that same thing again if he hopes to remain UFC featherweight champ.
Quick Preview: Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo
Yan, 27, from Russia, is ranked No. 3 in the division so it makes some sense that he would get the chance to fight for the vacant bantamweight title. But Aldo, 33, from Brazil, appears only to be getting the chance because of star power.
What else could it be? The former featherweight champion has lost two straight fights but jumped ahead of way more worthy contenders in a very deep division to get the title shot.
Still, on paper Yan vs. Aldo is a fun fight, and the winner will take home UFC gold at 135 pounds.
Other Important UFC 251 Bouts
Other important bouts scheduled for UFC 251 on July 11 include former world champions, hopeful contenders and future stars.
The main card includes Jessica Andrade taking on Rose Namajunas in an important rematch between former women’s strawweight champions.
The other main card bout features rising women’s flyweight contender Amanda Ribas taking on Paige VanZant in what looks to be a crossroads bout.
Finally, 205-pound ace Volkan Oezdemir welcomes potential future star Jiri Prochazka to the UFC’s 205-pound ranks. That’s the featured bout of the prelims and the winner should figure big into the future of the light heavyweight ranks.
UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns Promo Video
If all that failed to get you hyped about one of the biggest and best fight cards of the year, this UFC video asset should do the trick.
Watch UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns — Can’t Hold Us Down:
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