UFC KICKS OFF EVENTS ON UFC FIGHT ISLAND WITH THREE THRILLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHTS
Las Vegas – UFC holds its first in a series of events on UFC FIGHT ISLAND, headlined by a trio of world championship bouts. Welterweight champion Kamaru
Usman will go for his second successful title defense when he takes on teammate and No. 1 contender Gilbert Burns. In a featherweight championship rematch, Alexander Volkanovski defends against former champion and No. 1 contender Max Holloway. The vacant bantamweight championship is up for grabs when No. 3 ranked contender Petr Yan faces former featherweight champion and No. 6 bantamweight Jose Aldo. All events on UFC FIGHT ISLAND are the result of a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.
UFC 251 will take place Saturday, July 11 at Yas Forum on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island and will stream live on Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT in both English and Spanish.
Preliminary fights will air nationally in English on ESPN and ESPN+, and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT with the first four bouts also simulcast on UFC Fight Pass.
Initially turning heads by winning season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter, Usman has been unbeaten for over seven years. After earning a dominant victory over Tyron Woodley to capture the UFC welterweight championship in early 2019, Usman closed out the year by delivering a thrilling knockout victory over heated rival Colby Covington. Usman now aims to secure his second successful title defense against the division’s fastest rising contender.
Burns has wasted no time fighting his way into title contention since returning to welterweight in August 2019. Following impressive victories over Demian Maia, Gunnar Nelson and Aleksei Kunchenko, Burns put on the best outing of his career in a dominant win against Tyron Woodley in May. Burns now aims to earn UFC gold by dethroning his teammate with another spectacular performance.
Newly crowned champion Volkanovski aims to prove his incredible title victory over Holloway was no fluke. The former rugby player immediately made waves upon joining the UFC roster, securing thrilling victories over Chad Mendes, Darren Elkins and Jeremy Kennedy. Volkanovski is now gunning to go 2-0 against Holloway and begin building his own legacy as a dominant featherweight champion.
A former UFC featherweight champion, Holloway is looking for a measure of revenge against the man who took his belt. During a spectacular unbeaten streak at 145 pounds that lasted almost six years, Holloway delivered show-stealing victories against Brian Ortega, Frankie Edgar and Anthony Pettis. Holloway now has his sights set on evening the score with Volkanovski to reclaim his featherweight championship.
Unbeaten for over four years, Yan has quickly emerged as one of the top bantamweights in the world since joining the UFC roster with a KO victory against Teruto Ishihara in 2018. Since then, he has secured impressive wins over Urijah Faber, Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson. Yan now looks to take out another legend and achieve his dream of becoming UFC champion.
Among the greatest fighters in MMA history, Aldo hopes to become the eighth athlete to win championships in two UFC divisions. A two-time UFC featherweight champion, Aldo holds sensational victories over some of the biggest names in the sport, including Frankie Edgar (twice), Chad Mendes (twice) and Urijah Faber. Aldo now aims to capture the vacant bantamweight championship and add to his incredible legacy.
Additional bouts on the card include:
- In a rematch of former women’s strawweight champions, No. 1 ranked contender Jessica Andrade (20-7, fighting out of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) runs it back with No. 2 Rose Namajunas (9-4, fighting out of Denver, Colo.)
- No. 14 ranked women’s strawweight contender Amanda Ribas (9-1, fighting out of Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil) hopes to continue her hot streak against returning Paige VanZant (8-4, fighting out of Portland, Ore.)
- No. 7 ranked light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir (17-4, fighting out of Fribourg, Switzerland) takes on highly touted UFC newcomer Jiri Prochazka (26-3-1, fighting out of Brno, Czech Republic)
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (22-6, fighting out of Francisco Beltrao, Parana, Brazil) squares off with Muslim Salikhov (16-2, fighting out of Buynaksk, Dagestan, Russia) in an exciting welterweight bout
- Entertaining featherweights collide as Makwan Amirkhani (15-4, Turku, Finland by way of Kurdistan) meets Danny Henry (12-3, fighting out of Edinburgh, Scotland)
- Leonardo Santos (17-4-1, fighting out of Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) looks to deliver another highlight-reel finish against undefeated Roman Bogatov (10-0, fighting out of Orenburg, Russia)
- Marcin Tybura (18-6, fighting out of Uniejow, Poland) locks horns with unbeaten Alexandr Romanov (11-0, fighting out of Comrat, Moldova) in a heavyweight bout
- No. 14 ranked flyweight contender Raulian Paiva (19-3, fighting out of Santana, Amapa, Brazil) faces debuting Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-3, fighting out of Aktobe, Kazakhstan)
- Karol Rosa (12-3, fighting out of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) aims to secure her fourth consecutive victory when she takes on Vanessa Melo (10-7, fighting out of Taboao da Serra, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
- Martin Day (8-3, fighting out of Kailua, Hawaii) looks to secure his first UFC win when he meets Davey Grant (11-4, fighting out of Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England)
The UFC will then continue events on UFC FIGHT ISLAND with:
- UFC FIGHT NIGHT: KATTAR vs. IGE on Wednesday, July 15
- UFC FIGHT NIGHT: FIGUEIREDO vs. BENAVIDEZ 2 on Saturday, July 18
- UFC FIGHT NIGHT: WHITTAKER vs. TILL on Saturday, July 25