SHOWS: ABU DHABI, UAE (JULY 10, 2020) (UFC – MUST COURTESY ‘UFC’)
1. WELTERWEIGHT CHAMP KAMARU USMAN WALKING ON STAGE TO WEIGH IN
2. USMAN ON SCALE AND HIS WEIGHT BEING ANNOUNCED AT 170 POUNDS (77.1 KGS)
3. WELTERWEIGHT CHALLENGER JORGE MASVIDAL ON SCALE WEIGHING IN AT 170 POUNDS
4. MASVIDAL ON SCALE AND HIS WEIGHT BEING ANNOUNCED
5. USMAN AND MASVIDAL STARE DOWN
6. FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE FIGHTERS ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI AND MAX HOLLOWAY STARE DOWN
7. BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE FIGHTERS PETR YAN AND JOSE ALDO STARE DOWN
STORY: Co-headliners Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal made weight Friday (July 10) ahead of this weekend’s UFC 251 welterweight title fight at the new “Fight Island” venue.
UFC 251 will be the first event to take place at the new venue in Abu Dhabi, with three title fights and a set of health and safety measures in place due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The card is the first of four to be held at a purpose-built facility which is part of a “safe zone” on Yas Island, east of the city of Abu Dhabi and close to the airport.
The zone contains the fight venue and training facilities as well as several hotels and restaurants, and access is strictly controlled.
Fighters have been instructed to gather at one of a number of departure points to be tested and quarantined before traveling to the United Arab Emirates, with further tests on-site both before and after the event.
With the sporting calendar virtually wiped out by the pandemic, mixed martial arts was one of the first sports in the U.S. to stage events again, with three cards in Jacksonville, Florida in May followed by five at the UFC’s APEX facility in Las Vegas.
Despite the organizers’ best efforts, COVID-19 has still had an impact on the UFC 251 card as contender Gilbert Burns was ruled out of his welterweight title clash with Kamaru Usman following a positive test for the virus.
He will be replaced in the main event by the hugely popular Jorge Masvidal, while Alexander Volkanovski puts his featherweight title on the line against Max Holloway and Petr Yan and Jose Aldo go head-to-head for the vacant bantamweight belt.
The venue will host further events on July 15, July 18 and July 25 before UFC returns to Las Vegas. Volkanovski, however, said the venue makes little difference to the fighters.
(Production: David Grip)