MMA Ratings Podcast

June 12, 2020

Fight Island Is Official, and the UFC Is Stacking the Deck With Its Introduction At UFC 251

By Adam Martin

At long last, UFC Fight Island is official. The world's leading MMA promotion announced that Fight Island will take place at Yas Island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the organization already has four confirmed fights there this July. The crown jewel of the four fight cards the promotion announced for Fight Island is undoubtedly UFC 251. The UFC announced a number of fights for the July 11 card, and based on what we've seen, the promotion is going all is on Fight Island at UFC 251.

The main card was announced for UFC 251 and it's absolutely stacked. The UFC is going with a triple bill of title fights at the top, and anytime there are three title fights on a UFC card you know it's a big deal. In the main event, UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman defends his belt against Gilbert Burns. In the co-main event, Alexander Volkanovski puts the UFC featherweight title on the line against Max Holloway in a rematch. And to round out the triple bill, Petr Yan battles Jose Aldo for the vacant UFC bantamweight title. Those are three high-quality fights at the top of the marquee.

Also announced for the event were a number of other big fights. On the main card, former UFC women's strawweight champions Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas meet in a rematch just over a year after Andrade knocked out Namajunas with a slam to win the belt. Opening up the main card, up-and-comer Amanda Ribas takes on free-agent-to-be Paige VanZant. A light heavyweight bout between sluggers Jiri Prochazka and Volkan Ozedemir was also added to the card. Plus, you'll see Frankie Edgar make his bantamweight debut when he takes on Pedro Munhoz. What a card.

Like all professional sports organizations, the UFC has had to make the best of the coronavirus pandemic. The promotion was able to start running events again in May down in Jacksonville, Florida, and is currently in the middle of running a series of shows in its native Las Vegas, Nevada. But fans and media have been super intrigued ever since news of Fight Island broke a few months ago. The prospect of having the fighters fly to an unknown island somewhere in the world was something that everyone was curious about, and the UFC made good on its promise.

Some were disappointed that the UFC is going back to Yas Island for the four cards in July rather than some island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean like some imagined. But even if you were a bit let down by the promotion going back to Yas Island, where it has held a few events in the past, it's hard to be disappointed with the events that the promotion announced. The UFC 251 card looks incredibly stacked, and the other three cards set to take place next month should be fun as well. It's great to have the best sport in the world back on our television sets nearly every weekend throughout the summer.

Could the card be improved? Sure, any card can be. Yeah, it would have been nice if the UFC could have gotten a deal done with Jorge Masvidal to fight Usman, but they couldn't, and Burns is an incredible replacement opponent. Yeah, Zabit Magomedsharipov against Volkanovski might have been a bit more intriguing than a rematch with Holloway. And sure, Aldo shouldn't have gotten the title shot against Yan over Aljamain Sterling. But that is honestly nitpicking. The UFC did about as good as it could with this card given the circumstances and fans should be very pleased with the card.

You have to give it up to UFC President Dana White. While most other sports are still on hiatus, the UFC has been able to hold events and thrive during a tough time for everyone in the world. The promotion promised it would do good with Fight Island, and based on what we have seen so far it is going to be one heck of a spectacle when it does go down. Kudos to the UFC for putting together a series of fun fight cards this summer. and UFC 251 on July 11 is set to be a must-see event based on the card that has been revealed so far.

UFC 251
Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns (UFC Welterweight Championship)

UFC 251
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway (UFC Featherweight Championship)

UFC 251
Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo (UFC Bantamweight Championship)

UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns was due to take place June 6, 2020 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, the event was rescheduled/relocated to July 11, 2020 at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Click HERE for more UFC 251 Pre-Fight Analysis

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