Three title fights, Fight Island location announced for UFC 251 next month

Three title fights, Fight Island location announced for UFC 251 next month

The first ever “Fight Island” card will feature a trio of title fights on July 11.

On Tuesday, UFC president Dana White announced a welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns will headline the card taking place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will face off with Max Holloway in a rematch in the co-main event. The third title fight will crown a new bantamweight champion as Petr Yan takes on Jose Aldo.

Usman will defend his title against a teammate and friend in Burns, who just recently rocketed into the No. 1 contender spot following a dominant decision win over former champion Tyron Woodley. Immediately afterwards, Burns called for a title shot and now he’s been granted his first opportunity at UFC gold.

As part of the news, Usman also inked a new six-fight deal with the UFC as well.

Meanwhile, Volkanovski will meet Holloway after they first clashed this past December. On that night, Volkanovski earned a unanimous decision win to hand Holloway his first loss at featherweight since 2013.

Finally, Yan and Aldo clash to crown a new 135-pound champion in the wake of Henry Cejudo’s retirement.

The rest of the main card for UFC 251 will include a rematch between former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas as well as a showdown featuring Paige VanZant against rising star Amanda Ribas.

UFC 251 on July 11 will be the first of four scheduled cards headed to “Fight Island.” The second show will take place on Wednesday, July 15 followed by another card on Saturday, July 18 and then a final event on Saturday, July 25.

The UFC will be setting up shop in a private, secluded part of Yas Island that will be cordoned off for “UFC athletes and their coaches; UFC staff and other event personnel; and Yas Island employees who are necessary to ensure the operation of the facilities.”

“Abu Dhabi has actually created this safety zone on the island within 10 square miles on Yas Island will just be inhabited by us,” White added. “It will include an arena, hotels, training facilities for the fighters that are private, so the whole COVID-19 thing is covered. Dining establishments and yes, there is an octagon on the beach.”

Back in 2019, the UFC entered into a five-year deal to bring fights to Abu Dhabi and the arrival of “Fight Island” is a further extension of that contract. All four “Fight Island” cards will take place in Abu Dhabi before the UFC returns home to the United States for a show currently scheduled on Aug. 1.

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