In an exciting last-minute switch-up, UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal will now be fighting Kamaru Usman for the Welterweight Championship at UFC 251 this Saturday.
Masvidal replaced Gilbert Burns, who tested positive for COVID-19 on July 3rd, just hours before the UFC charter was set to leave Las Vegas for Abu Dhabi.
The 35-year-old BMF champion was quickly contacted by league officials upon getting the news of Burn’s diagnosis. He trained hard in order to make the weigh in, cutting 10 lbs to do so.
Masvidal and Usman is the main event super fight that the UFC wanted all along, as the two fighters are ranked at the top of the welterweight division.
It remains to be seen how much the quick change of plans affects Usman in the title fight. Masvidal has been preparing to fight for the past month, whereas Usman is currently playing catch-up.
When asked by reporters what he thought of the last-minute switch, Usman showed confidence in his abilities.
“I consider myself a hybrid fighter,” said Usman. “I can do it all. If I need to take you down its not a matter of if I can, it is a matter of when I want to. I think I have one of the best IQs in the game and it’s just a matter of me going out there and figuring it out.”
While the two men may not have ever faced off in the Octagon before, they did share a heated exchange during the Super Bowl media day earlier this year in Masvidal’s hometown of Miami. They were separated before any punches were thrown, but there has been hype around a potential matchup between the two superstars ever since.
Usman has a record of 16-1 (11-0 since joining the UFC) and has not lost a fight since December 2013. His fight with Masvidal will be the second time that the 33-year-old welterweight champion has had to defend his belt since winning it at UFC 235 last year.
Masvidal has been on a tear since returning to the Octagon in 2019 after a year away from the sport. The 35-year-old brawler arguably had a better year than anyone in 2019. He set the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history (5 seconds) against Ben Askren at UFC 239 in July and won the symbolic BMF belt when he beat Nate Diaz at UFC 244 in November.
Usman is the favorite leading up to the highly anticipated bout at -260. The betting line for Masvidal currently sits at +200.
UFC 251 will be available via pay-per-view on ESPN+. The Main Card will begin around 10 p.m. ET.