One of the most stacked cards of all time took place in exceptional circumstances. UFC 251 Saturday night — the inaugural event at Dana White’s “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
The card features three title fights. In the main event, Kamaru Usman attempts to defend his welterweight title for a second time in a showdown Jorge Masvidal. Usman enters the bout on a 15-fight winning streak, while Masvidal is fighting on short notice after filling in for Gilbert Burns, who tested positive for coronavirus.
The UFC finally hit ‘Fight Island’ last night with UFC 251. Here are the best and worst eternities of a fascinating epic fight.
- Best: Yan breaks Aldo down in violent fashion
Of the three UFC title fights on stroke las night, one of them the UFC Bantamweight title clash between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo.
In the first two round, Aldo appeared to be having a lot of success. Surely, he found himself in trouble on the ground late in the first round but landed some huge low kicks and body shots to the Russian in the second round.
In the third round, the Brazilian master appeared to have Yan fading but by the end of that round, he’d started to roll the flow and seemed to have Aldo on the strings in the fourth round.
Once he dropped him early in the fifth round, the fight was extensively over. Aldo droops it up after this fight and if he does, he will have gone out with a real smack.
- Worst: UFC Fight Island turns out to be pretty ordinary
The quality of the fights last twilight was disappointing and the fact that Abu Dhabi’s ‘Fight Island’ felt like a bit of a vexation.
The impressions we got from the UFC’s social media updates throughout the past couple of weeks seemingly different last night.
In the end though, with the lights dimmed and the same setup as you’d get at any UFC show, it was impossible to tell that we were actually on ‘Fight Island’. Overall, things felt no different to the UFC’s previous behind-closed-doors events in Jacksonville or Las Vegas.
In hindsight, everyone should’ve seen this coming and feels ignorant for expecting anything different. But when you’re hoping for the UFC to produce its own Jean-Claude Van Damme movie and they give you a regular UFC show, it’s hard not to be scarcely disappointed.
- Best: Usman proves why he’s best
Last night’s main event saw the current UFC Welterweight champ Kamaru Usman take on possibly his most dangerous opponent finally in the form of Jorge Masvidal.
Moreover, Masvidal had no answer for Usman’s strength, specifically from the clinch and cardio. Masvidal tried, but Usman simply wore him down over five rounds, never really giving him a chance to get going. When the fight ended, it was clear who’d come out as boss.
Usman is too strong, too smart, and too well-rounded for anyone else in this coalition. Not only is he possibly the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now, but he also has the opportunity to match the stature of GSP if he can keep up this form.
- Worst: Will Volkanovski’s close fight with Holloway cause a logjam at 145lbs?
Max Holloway lost his UFC Featherweight title against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245 as the Aussie stunned him with his speed and leg kicks over five rounds.
The UFC could easily have had Volkanovski maintain his newly-won title against one of their red-hot contenders at 145lbs – Zabit Magomedsharipov, Yair Rodriguez or the Korean Zombie – but it felt like the right thing to do to was give Holloway an unexpected rematch. After all, the Hawaiian had held the title since 2017 and had made 3 successful defences of it.
UFC President Dana White appears to be one of them, there’s every chance the UFC books a third fight between these two. From a quality perspective that’d be fine, but what happens to the ever-growing list of contenders?
Basically, they wind up in a logjam. We’ve seen this happen numerous times in UFC history – the Lightweight title picture from 2010 to 2012 instantly comes to mind – and to be frank, it’s never good.