For months, ‘Fight Island’ was the mysterious super-plan dreamed up by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) boss Dana White in response to international lockdowns the world over.
This weekend, his grand vision becomes reality in the surreal surrounds
of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, the bio-bubble venue hosting UFC 251, which
will be broadcast on SuperSport this weekend – LIVE on SuperSport 11
from 02:00 AM Sunday.
SuperSport is your home of sport and the best place to see all the
action from around the world as #LiveSportReturns.
Amid super-strict health protocols, which resulted in headliner Gilbert
Burns forfeiting his spot at the 11th hour after testing positive for
the Coronavirus, the MMA organization has managed to put together one of
the best shows of recent years.
Even though Burns lost his shot, Jorge Masvidal (35-13-0) of the US is
an outstanding replacement as a challenger for Nigerian Kamaru Usman’s
welterweight belt. Notwithstanding the late notice, Masvidal was hard in
training and ready for action.
Masvidal, a seven-year UFC veteran, went 3-0 last year, including
setting the record for the fastest KO in UFC history against Ben Askren
(five seconds). He didn’t mince his words: “I’m happy, more than
anything because I get to break this guy’s face, then get paid for
Usman (16-1-0), also known as ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, is one of
UFC’s most formidable fighters and was unfazed by the change,
reckoning his heavy hands will do the business.
“At the end of the day when you’re in the training camp? And you train
the way I train? You see no face. When I cross into the Octagon, I need
to turn on ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’. And leave Kamaru Usman on the
outside. So, I see no face by the time I’m in there anyway,” said
the African-born fighter regarding having a new opponent at the last
UFC 251 will also feature two other championship bouts: former
featherweight titleholder Max Holloway (21-5-0) will take on the man who
dethroned him, Alexander Volkanovski (21-1-0), in a much-awaited
rematch, while Petr Yan (14-1-0) and Jose Aldo (28-6-0) are due to fight
for the vacant men’s bantamweight belt.
Yan, known as ‘No Mercy’, says he expects a tough battle against
Aldo: “He doesn’t make many mistakes. He will be ready to go the
full distance. But I believe I have the ability and tools to defeat him.
I have no doubt it will be an exciting contest. It is because our styles
match up very well.”
Volkanovski, meanwhile, feels he has been overlooked as the new
featherweight champion and has promised to put Holloway down inside the
five rounds this time around: “People quickly forget how I did it,
there were biased opinions and commentary, everything. So, I’m a little
bit annoyed, I feel disrespected. I’ve got something to prove this time,
I’ll put him away inside the five [rounds] this time. I guarantee you
that. I’m sending a message.”
The main card of UFC 251 also features a women’s strawweight bout
between Jessica Andrade (20-7-0) and Rose Namajunas (9-4-0), as well as
Amanda Ribas (9-1-0) v Paige VanZant (8-4-0) in the women’s flyweight
No rival can compete with SuperSport’s coverage. Our viewers on DStv and
GOtv can see all their favourite fighters from the UFC in action in the
UFC 251 – Broadcast details
Sunday 12 July
02:00: Preliminary card – LIVE on SuperSport 11
04:00: Main card – LIVE on SuperSport 11
UFC 251 – Main card
– Main event: Welterweight championship: Kamaru Usman v Jorge Masvidal
– Co-main: Featherweight championship: Alexander Volkanovski v Max
– Vacant bantamweight championship: Petr Yan v Jose Aldo
– Women’s strawweight: Jessica Andrade v Rose Namajunas
– Women’s flyweight: Amanda Ribas v Paige VanZant