The first fight on fight island hasn’t even taken place yet and the drama is in full swing. Karmaru Usman and Gilbert Burns is off, and in a last-ditch hail mary attempt, the UFC was forced to find a replacement fight on less than one week’s notice that’s to take place on the other side of the planet in the United Arab Emirates. The element of intrigue of fight island has been high from the jump, the added touch of Jorge Masvidal now stepping up to save the day just made the whole event ten times more exhilarating.
Add the fact that there are three championship titles on the line and a stacked undercard to the mix, and fight island is officially on wheels. There are four fights on this card that deserve the attention of a top booked fight. The rematch between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade was fireworks the first time and will likely be fireworks the second time. The other rematch on the card between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway is likely to be a continuation of the last fight which served up some top-notch theatrics in a total crowd-pleaser.
It’s hard to not have a very close eye on the Jose Aldo vs Petr Yan fight. Aldo lost his last fight on paper, but it was as blatant of a bad decision that you’ll see in this game. His first foray into the bantamweight division against former title challenger Marlon Moras, Aldo looked the sharpest he has looked in years. The speed and the aggressiveness were that of Aldo circa 2010. Word around his camp is that for the first time in his career he is taking his diet seriously, and apparently, a newfound motivation for training has got ahold of him. If his last fight was any indication, the rumors are true. The idea of Aldo coming winning the bantamweight championship at a time when the division is at an all-time high with talent and intrigue would make for some fun times. Petr Yan is one of the scariest individuals on the UFC roster right now. The air of intimidation he carries is matched by his in the cage performances, the bark has some serious bite and Yan is cant miss T.V no matter who he is fighting. Pitting an extremely dangerous and hungry Petr Yan against an Aldo with renewed motivation will make for a strong contender for fight of the night honors.
The card was incredible to begin with, but now that Jorge Masvidal is in the picture, this card’s profile has reached new heights. What more can be said about Gamebred? After 17 years as a professional mixed martial artist, it was year 16 is when his career skyrocketed into a new stratosphere of fame and success. With his latest move of taking a title shot on 6 days for the inaugural Fight Island event, Masvidal just upped the ante once again and win or lose, he will reap the rewards from the decision to take this late notice title shot.
Not ideal to take your first UFC title fight on a week’s notice, but when you consider Jorge Masvidal’s biggest backyard fighting win came after he took a call as a 19-year-old waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru offering him to fight a Kimbo protégé that day, it feels poetic.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2020
By reaping the rewards, I don’t just mean the fat stack of cash he is likely going to take home. But the respect and the reverence from the fans he has achieved at this point in his career is going to get a significant bump, and it’ll be well deserved. But if Masvidal shows up on six days’ notice and wins the welterweight championship? Look out.
The fact that this came together so quickly speaks volumes about Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, their teams and management as well as the UFC. Now we just wait for COVID-19 testing to come back. https://t.co/JQ187J1LYx
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) July 5, 2020
Masvidal’s sudden thrust into stardom after his best knockout of all-time candidate over Askren and his subsequent match up with Nate Diaz for the BMF title at Madison Square Garden has made him one of the biggest names in the sport. For hardcore fans who have been following his career since the beginning, seeing Masvidal get his due and them some is incredibly gratifying. Seeing him take that success to another level would be pleasing to many. He is in incredibly tough against the ultra dangerous Usman, but being perfectly willing to throw himself to the fire and accept the consequences no matter what the result is one of the very qualities that brought Masvidal his recent success. So buckle up for the ride, UFC 251 is going to be straight-up lunacy.