Kamaru Usman, Jorge Masvidal Make Weight for UFC 251 'Fight Island' Main Event

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2020

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JULY 10: (L-R) Opponents Kamaru Usman of Nigeria and Jorge Masvidal face off during the UFC 251 official weigh-in inside Flash Forum at UFC Fight Island on July 10, 2020 on Yas Island Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Jorge Masvidal both weighed in at 170 pounds Friday ahead of Saturday's title clash on UFC's Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. 

ESPN's Marc Raimondi provided the update with the fight set to serve as the main event of UFC 251, the promotion's first card outside the United States since its resumption in May amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Usman was originally scheduled to face Gilbert Burns, who was forced to withdraw from the event after testing positive for COVID-19.

Masvidal stepped up to fill the void on short notice after signing a new multifight contract with UFC after being at odds with the company over pay in recent months.

"I can understand you don't want to give me that much on the guaranteed," he told ESPN's Ariel Helwani. "But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money on that, and they weren't budging. And that was that. So, all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses."

Usman, who owns a 16-1 record and hasn't lost since 2013, won the welterweight title with a victory over Tyron Woodley last March. He successfully defended the belt for the first time in December with a knockout of Colby Covington.

The Nigerian Nightmare could have turned down the opponent switch given the late notice, but he decided to take the fight and explained his decision to Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole.

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"But I had to be the one to say, 'Yeah, I'll take that fight. I'll take on that challenge,'" he said. "There's always a risk to step in there, but especially doing it on seven, six, seven days' notice after you just trained for a different opponent [with] a different style and now having to make that mental switch. But at the end of the day, this is what champions are made of. This is what champions are remembered for."

Usman, a technical fighting master, is the favorite (-230; bet $230 to win $100) in what should be a terrific contrast of styles against the hard-hitting Masvidal (+190), according to Caesars Palace.

The UFC 251 card features two other title fights: Alexander Volkanovski defending the featherweight championship against Max Holloway and a clash between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight belt.