UFC 251: Usman vs Masvidal Preview

By Kyler Kuehler

UFC 251: Usman vs Masvidal will air on July 11, 2020, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Who knew the odds of this event taking place on Yas Island at the UFC Fight Island facility at the start 2020. UFC 251 will be the first of four fights that will place on Fight Island. The big question for 2020 is who will emerge as the champion? Let me know your thoughts!

Early Preliminary Card (Fight Pass/ESPN+)

MARTIN “THE SPARTAN” DAY (9-3-0) vs DAVEY “DANGEROUS” GRANT (11-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the bantamweight division. Day brings boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo, and grappling and he is the favorite on most of the UFC betting tips and predictions. Grant brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. Both are well-rounded; Day is more equipped with techniques. Day will outstrike Grant and keep the pressure on him. Grant will try to defend, but Day will not give in. My prediction: Day wins via TKO in Round 3.

KAROL ROSA (12-3-0) vs VANESSA “MISS SIMPATIA” MELO (10-7-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s bantamweight division. Rosa brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Melo brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both bring a similar style; Rosa is more well-rounded. She will outstrike Melo before bringing her to the ground. There she will control Melo for the remainder of the fight. Melo will try to get back to her feet, but Rosa will not let that happen. My prediction: Rosa wins via unanimous decision.

#14 RAULIAN PAIVA (19-3-0) vs ZHALGAS “ZHAKO” ZHUMAGULOV (13-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the flyweight division. Paiva brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Zhumagulov brings striking and grappling. Paiva’s jiu-jitsu appears to get the best of Zhumagulov. However, Zhumagulov has a great defense and will surpass Paiva throughout the fight. He will throw faster strikes and avoid most of Paiva’s takedowns. My prediction: Zhumagulov wins via unanimous decision.

MARCIN “TYBUR” TYBURA (18-6-0) vs MAXIM “MAXIMUS” GRISHIN (30-7-2)
This is a three-round fight in the heavyweight division. Tybura brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. Grishin brings striking and grappling. Tybura’s jiu-jitsu appears to be his key to victory in this fight. Grishin will try to keep the fight standing and throw heavy strikes at Tybura. Tybura will avoid Romanov’s attack. Grishin will grow frustrated and try to finish Tybura, but Tybura will take him to the ground. My prediction: Tybura wins via submission in Round 2.

Preliminary Card (ESPN)

LEONARDO “LAMPARAO” SANTOS (17-3-1) vs ROMAN BOGATOV (10-0-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Santos brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Bogatov brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Bogatov athleticism appears to get the best of Santos. However, Santos’ wrestling will prove too much for Bogatov to handle. He will take Bogatov to the ground early on and keep him there. He will out grapple him until Bogatov is forced to quit. My prediction: Santos wins via submission in Round 2.

MAKWAN “MR. FINLAND” AMIRKHANI (15-4-0) vs DANNY “THE HATCHET” HENRY (12-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Amirkhani brings boxing, Muay Thai, and wrestling. Henry brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both can grapple, but Amirkhani is a far better striker. His Muay Thai will cause damage to Henry early on causing Henry to become highly cautious. Henry will try to defend, but Amirkhanio’s power will be too much for him to handle. My prediction: Amirkhanio wins via knockout in Round 1.

ELIZEU ZALESKI “CAPOEIRA” DOS SANTOS (22-6-0) vs MUSLIM “KING OF KUNG FU” SALIKHOV (16-2-0)
This is a three-round fight in the welterweight division. Dos Santos brings kickboxing, Capoeira, and jiu-jitsu. Salikhov brings kickboxing, Sanda, changqun, and Shuai Jiao. Both are well-rounded; Salikhov is better with striking and more accurate. Dos Santos will try to stand with Salikhov, but he won’t be able to keep up with him. My prediction: Salikhov wins via TKO in Round 3.

#7 VOLKAN “NO TIME” OEZDEMIR (17-4-0) vs JIRI “DENISA” PROCHAZKA (26-3-1)
This is a three-round fight in the light heavyweight division. Oezdemir brings boxing, kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu. Prochazka brings striking and grappling. Oezdemir’s boxing ability looks to get the best of Prochazka. Prochazka will not make this fight easy for Oezdemir. He will eat many of Oezdemir’s attacks with ease and counter with his own. He will then bring Oezdemir to the ground and force him to quit. My prediction: Prochazka wins via submission in Round 2.

Main Card (Pay-Per-View – ESPN+)

#14 AMANDA RIBAS (9-1-0) vs PAIGE “12 GAUGE” VANZANT (8-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s flyweight division. Ribas brings striking, judo, and jiu-jitsu. VanZant brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. VanZant’s boxing looks to get the best of Ribas. However, Ribas is as tough as nails and will withstand all of VanZant’s strikes. She will then bring her to the ground and out grapple her with ease. My prediction: Ribas wins via submission in Round 2.

#1 JESSICA “BATE ESTACE” ANDRADE (20-7-0) vs #2 ROSE “THUG” NAMAJUNAS (8-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s strawweight division. Andrade brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu. She is a former strawweight champion. Namajunas brings kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. She is a former strawweight champion. Andrade looks to take Namajunas out once again with her intense power. Namajunas will not let that happen as she will keep Andrade off her. She will attack with the same game plan as last time, but she will be more cautious. Andrade will try to get Namajunas to the ground, but Namajunas will defend and keep Andrade at bay. My prediction: Namajunas wins via unanimous decision.

#3 PETR “NO MERCY” YAN (14-1-0) vs #11 JOSE “JUNIOR” ALDO (28-6-0)
This is a five-round fight for the vacant bantamweight championship. Yan brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Aldo brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, Luta Livre, and jiu-jitsu. He is a former UFC and WEC Featherweight Champion. Aldo’s Muay Thai and takedown defense look to be a real challenge for Yan. However, Yan is full of power and will be feeding it all to Aldo. Aldo will try to keep up with Yan. but he will fall behind as the fight progresses. Once he becomes tired Yan will go all out on him until Aldo can no longer continue. My prediction: Yan wins via TKO in Round 3.

(C) ALEXANDER “THE GREAT” VOLKANOVSKI (21-1-0) vs #1 MAX “BLESSED” HOLLOWAY (21-5-0)
This is a five-round co-main event for the featherweight championship. Volkanovski brings boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is the current champion. Holloway brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu. He is a former featherweight champion. Volkanovski looks to make another dominating work of Holloway. Holloway is always a fighter who improves and looks to give Volkanovski another run for his money. However, Volkanovski has been improving with each fight and looks to make an even more dominating performance over Holloway. He will use boxing to control Holloway again. Holloway will try to take control, but Volkanovski’s power will prove once again too much for him. My prediction: Volkanovski wins via unanimous decision.

(C) KAMARU “NIGERIAN NIGHTMARE” USMAN (16-1-0) vs #3 JORGE “GAMEBRED” MASVIDAL (35-13-0)
This is a five-round main event for the welterweight championship. Usman brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is the current champion. Masvidal brings boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling. Masvidal looks to give Usman a true run for his money when he uses his wrestling to try and control Usman. Usman will manage to avoid many of Masvidal’s takedowns and counter with heavy strikes. Masvidal will then try to strike with Usman, but Usman’s power will prove too great for Masvidal. Usman will then throw heavy strikes at Masvidal and weaken him more as the fight progresses. Masvidal will try to gain the upper hand, but Usman will be too far ahead by then. My prediction: Usman wins via unanimous decision.