UFC 251 Fight Island: Preview & Predictions
Updated: Sep 21
It’s Time! It is now officially weigh in day on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and as the fighters step on the scale it looks like everyone on the main card has made weight, however with the crazy times we are currently in, we have to wait for 1 final negative Covid-19 test to officially know these fights will 100% happen. All but 2 fighters made weight for their fights on Saturday and the two who missed will still fight, but will have a reduction in pay. This card is absolutely loaded, by far the best card of 2020 and potential to be one of the best cards in UFC history. We will have 3 title fights on Saturday night as the vacant Bantamweight Title will be claimed and we will see the defending of the Welterweight and Featherweight Titles.
Main Card Preview and Predictions
(14) Amanda Ribas vs Paige VanZant
PVZ returns off of a long layoff with her last fight coming back in January of 2019. Amanda Ribas will be the much fresher fighter as she competed earlier this year picking up a decision victory over Randa Markos. Ribas is the heavy favorite entering this one with a record of 9-1 and holding a 4 fight win streak. VanZant on the other hand is 2-3 in her last five and has had a ton of stuff going on outside the octagon. This is going to be a very tough fight for PVZ and one that she will have to put on one of her best performances to pull out a victory. I think the freshness of Ribas will be a huge advantage in this one and she will be too much to handle for PVZ after a lengthy layout.
Prediction: Amanda Ribas vis submission
Strawweight: (1) Jessica Andrade vs (2) Rose Namajunas
This rematch should be awesome and bring a lot of action to the octagon. The last time these 2 met we saw a stunning KO when Andrade dethroned the champ when she transitioned from a clinch against the cage to a powerslam that knocked out Namajunas when she hit the mat. Andrade went on to drop the title in her next bout to Weili Zhang where she was TKO’d by the current Strawweight Champ. I think this will be a terrific fight as last time these 2 put on a great show and Namajunas believes it was just one mistake that led to her defeat. Thug Rose was on fire heading into her last fight with Andrade coming off back to back wins of Joanna Jedrzejczyk. This should be a very interesting and high intensity fight as both of these fighters possess well rounded styles and have the ability to win in a plethora of ways.
Prediction: Rose Namajunas by decision
Bantamweight: (3) Petr Yan vs (6) Jose Aldo
The first of our 3 title fights of the night will be for the recently vacated Bantamweight title. Henry Cejudo defended his title just a few months back with a victory over the returning Dominick Cruz and surprisingly announced his retirement after the win. What that leaves us with now is a vacant bantamweight title and a division with guys chomping at the bit to get to the top. The matchmaking for this one was something that was brought into question right from the start with the choice to place the sixth ranked Jose Aldo in this title fight ahead of some other, more deserving candidates. Aldo even though he is an eventual HOFer is coming off back to back losses, one to number 1 ranked Marlon Moraes who he jumped for a spot in this fight. On the other hand Petr Yan has been one of the hottest fighters in the company riding a 6 fight win streak into this title fight on Saturday. Of those 6 wins however, the most impressive was probably his most recent, which was a win of aging UFC legend Urijah Faber. This fight will be very interesting as Aldo has so much experience in title fights and there is nothing that Jose has not seen, while Yan seems to be an up and coming star in this division. The winner of this fight will most likely have to defend their title vs Aljamain Sterling who is coming off of an impressive submission victory over Cory Sandhagen. I have liked what I have seen from Yan, but I think it may be the experienced vet who pulls this one out in a surprise victory.
Prediction: Aldo by KO/TKO
Featherweight: (C) Alexander Volkanovski vs (1) Max Holloway
Another rematch on our UFC 251 card and I think this is the fight of the night, this is the matchup that I am looking forward to the most. These two fighters went through an absolute war the last time they faced each other, with Volkanovski edging out the champ via a decision. Holloway, most likely, the greatest Featherweight in UFC history will be looking to avenge the loss which was only his 2nd since 2014 and regain the Featherweight title. Volkanovksi will be trying to stay undefeated as a UFC competitor and successfully defend his title for the first time. They say that you are not truly a champion until you successfully defend that title after entering with it around your waist. This should be another high paced, super intense fight with two super talented fighters who will throw the kitchen sink at their opponent. Holloway seems absolutely determined to get back on track and prove that last time out was just a fluke loss. It should be very interesting to see the strategies of these 2 fighters as they are coming back to fight the same opponent they saw their last time out. To me the Blessed one is pound for pound one of the best to ever do it in the octagon and I do not see him being conquered by Alexander “The Great” a second time in a row.
Prediction: Holloway by KO/TKO
Featherweight: (C) Kamru Usman vs (3) Jorge Masvidal
Here we go! If that promo doesn't fire you up for tomorrow nigh then I don't know what will. Our main event and 3rd and final title fight of the evening should be an absolute show for UFC fans everywhere. These 2 guys simply do not like each other, there have been multiple run ins outside the octagon, and Jorge Masvidal is a guy who knows how to get under his opponents skin. Taking this fight in 6 days notice, after Gilbert Burns and 2 cornermen tested positive for Covid-19, Gambred helped save the main event here on fight island. The trouble for Masvidal is he has to take on one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world in Kamru Usman. The Nigerian Nightmare has not lost since joining the UFC and has stacked up some very impressive wins in that time over the likes of Demian Maia, RDA, Tyron Woodley, and most recently Colby Covington. Usman is so well rounded and can beat you just about anyway possible. His improved striking paired with his takedown and grappling ability has rendered him unbeatable up to this point in his career. He put on an absolute clinic out wrestling Tyron Woodley who had proven to be one of, if not the best wrestlers in the division. However, last time out Covington was able to get home with some strikes and touch Usman a little and Masvidal is a more advanced striker than Covington. Masvidal also boasts one of the best takedown defenses in the UFC, but it's a whole different ball game wrestling with Kamaru Usman. This fight will be electric and everything fight fans are looking for, I think the well rounded style of Usman and his dominance will continue. I would love to see this as a very good back and forth fight to set up a rematch for Masvidal with a full camp. Ultimately, I think the 6 days and rushed weight cut will hurt Masvidal, but if he could pull it off it would be incredible.
Prediction: Usman via decision