UFC is headed to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi in two weeks for the first of four events at what Dana White is calling “Fight Island.” That first card, UFC 251, will be the biggest event in mixed martial arts so far in 2020. There will be three championship fights, as well as some of the best female fighters in the world available on pay-per-view.
The main event is a welterweight championship bout between the holder Kamaru Usman and Brazilian Gilbert Burns in one of the most highly-anticipated fights of the year. Usman is 16-1 career, and 11-0 in the UFC, and currently #6 in the pound-for-pound rankings. He takes on a Brazilian in Burns that has won six in a row and is 12-3 overall in the promotion. Burns won his last fight, a unanimous decision against Tyron Woodley on May 30th in Jacksonville.
At featherweight, #1 contender Max Holloway will get his rematch against champion Alex Volkanovski in the co-main event. Volkanovski is #7 in pound-for-pound, and is 21-1 as an MMA professional. He’s won 17 in a row, is 7-0 in the UFC, and defeated Holloway by unanimous decision on December 14th of last year in which a combined 291 punches landed.
The third title fight is for Henry Cejudo’s now-vacant bantamweight belt, with Peter Yan facing veteran Jose Aldo. Yan is 6-0 in the UFC and the Russian has won half his fights via stoppage. He’ll need to get through the former champion Aldo, who has lost four of his last six fights but is still one of the most dangerous men in the division.
The women will also have a pair of terrific fights, with Rose Namajunas in a strawweight rematch against Jessica Andrade. Andrade won this fight in May of last year, but dropped the belt to Weili Zhang in her last outing. Also Paige VanZant, who has very publicly discussed leaving the UFC after this fight, takes on 9-1 and #15 Amanda Ribas at flyweight.
Here are the early odds and bet splits for the main card of UFC 251 at Fight Island on July 11th:
Kamaru Usman: -200, 68% of handle, 74% of bets
Gilbert Burns: +162, 32% of handle, 26% of bets
Max Holloway: +170, 52% of handle, 56% of bets
Alex Volkanovski: -210, 48% of handle, 44% of bets
Petr Yan: -230, 73% of handle, 65% of bets
Jose Aldo: +180, 27% of handle, 35% of bets
Rose Namajunas: -200, 71% of handle, 73% of bets
Jessica Andrade: +162, 29% of handle, 27% of bets
Paige VanZant: +500, 52% of handle, 38% of bets
Amanda Ribas: -770, 48% of handle, 62% of bets
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