What a few days it has been for UFC welterweight champion Karamu Usman. He was slated to headline the upcoming UFC 251 main event against Gilbert Burns, defending his welterweight championship against the Brazilian on the first of several events taking place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, known affectionately amongst MMA fans and media as Fight Island.
That was until Burns was pulled from the event after testing positive for Covid-19 just one week before the event, throwing a lot of doubt into whether Usman would even get the chance to defend his title.
Enter The BMF
Step forward the BMF.
Jorge ‘Gambred’ Masvidal quickly took to social media to announce his willingness to fight Usman next week, and the UFC quickly got the ball rolling with negotiations taking place shortly after Burns was pulled from the fight, eventually making the Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal official later that night.
Masvidal and Usman were required to travel to Las Vegas to undergo Covid-19 testing and to iron out the final details of the upcoming fight. After this, each received separate private chartered flights and are en route to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Once they arrive, both endured further testing to ensure they are not positive for Covid-19, with continuous testing occuring up until the event itself. Should they get the all-clear, we suddenly have one of the most exciting title fights of the year headlining UFC 251.
Usman v Masvidal is headlining a mouth-watering card, which includes featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway, Jose Aldo’s UFC bantamweight debut against surging Russian Petr Yan, and a rematch between former UFC strawweight champions’ Jéssica Andrade and Rose Namajunas.
Masvidal can now cap off one of the most impressive 18 month runs in UFC history, racking up spectacular knockout wins against Darren Till and Ben Askren along with a huge doctor’s stoppage victory against Nate Diaz – stepping in on six days’ notice to win the welterweight title would be the perfect exclamation point of an incredible run that has seen Masvidal become a star.
Of course, Karamu Usman is the welterweight champion for a reason, so this will be no walk in the park for Masvidal. Usman remains undefeated racking up incredible wins en route to dethroning Tyson Woodley and successful defending against Colby Covington, so will fancy his chances against the surging Masvidal.
Kamaru Usman Vs Jorge Masvidal Prediction
How the fight goes is anyone’s guess. While Usman is likely to eek out as the betting favourite, the recent resurgence of Masvidal seems near unstoppable, and stepping to win the title on short notice sounds exactly the type of thing Gamebred would do.
As long as Usman doesn’t get baited into a stand up war, scoring should be in his favor. However, it’s hard to get the image of the damage Masvidal’s knee did to Ben Askren out of your head after watching it one, or more likely 1,000 times. Working against Jorge, however is taking this fight on short notice.
These short notice fights are difficult to predict and can go either way – just ask Tony Ferguson after his upset loss to Justin Gaethje.
Regardless of the outcome, fans arguably have a more attractive headline fight going into UFC 251, which should hopefully kick off a two month extravaganza that has nine events across July and August.
Our Prediction: UD Win For Kamaru Usman