The location for UFC 251 might be just as interesting as the main event. In order to accommodate international fighters who couldn’t enter the U.S. due to COVID-related travel restrictions, the promotion is holding four events at Yas Island – temporarily renamed UFC Fight Island – a popular tourist spot in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The full fight card features four early prelim and four prelim bouts, and five more on the main ticket, including three championship fights, with a welterweight title bout between champ Kamaru “Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (16-1) and challenger Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (35-13) serving as the main event. Bookmaker is offering a generous welcome bonus with a $1000 maximum.
Gilbert Burns was originally slated to fight for the strap, but a positive COVID-19 test put him on the shelf. Many UFC betting fans are excited for the updated headliner, which Masvidal was reportedly the first choice for. Usman has never lost inside the octagon and brings a 15-fight win streak into Saturdays tussle. That’s why the Nigerian Nightmare is a big favorite at online sportsbooks to successfully defend his title.
Check out odds for every fight on Saturday’s UFC 251 card at BookMaker.eu and place your wager. The prelims start at 6 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN, ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass. The main card is set for 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ pay per view.
UFC 251 Odds at BookMaker.eu
Jorge Masvidal +218
Kamaru Usman -285
Over 4.5 Rounds +123
Under 4.5 Rounds -155
Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal Fight Preview
No matter who Usman (16-1, 7 KOs, 1 SUB) fights he’s going to be a heavy favorite, he’s just that good. He’s currently on the board as a -285 favorite as he gets set for the second defense of his title that he won with a dominant unanimous decision over Tyron Woodley in March 2019. Usman successfully defended his title last time out stopping Colby Covington with a fifth-round TKO last December.
Winning fights is nothing new for Usman. He’s won 15 straight dating back to 2013. And he has a huge advantage in this matchup. One of the Nightmare’s strengths is his peak conditioning that allows him to maintain a relentless pace for the duration of the bout. He isn’t averse to going the distance either. Eight of his last 10 fights went to the judges with Usman sweeping them all.
We’ve seen Usman evolve and develop his game over the years. He started as an expert wrestler and enjoys his most success when wearing down opponents. He averages 3.4 takedowns per 15 minutes scoring multiple drops in seven of his 11 matches in the octagon.
What makes the champ even tougher to handle is the improvement he’s shown on his feet. He’s outstruck all his opponents since joining UFC, though many of those came after getting to the mat.
Masvidal (35-13, 16 KOs, 2 SUBs) agreed to this fight about a week ago and there are concerns over his training. It’s going to be difficult to keep up with Usman if the cardio isn’t top-notch. That doesn’t take away from the fact that Gamebred was the 2019 fighter of the year going 3-0 with a KO of Darren Till in March before dropping Ben Askren with a flying knee just five seconds into their July bout. It was the fastest KO in UFC history against a fighter many considered the best outside the UFC.
There is no denying Masvidal earned a crack at the title. If there were any doubts he put those to bed with a TKO win over Nate Diaz last November, earning the celebratory BMF belt. The last three wins came after Masvidal took a 16-month hiatus to reflect on his career after a pair of setbacks to Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia.
Masvidal has to defend against the aggressive Usman and he’s proven to be good at stuffing takedowns. He’ll also have to land some kicks, which is something he’s proven to be good at. He averages 4.22 significant strikes per minute. The ones he attempts on Saturday better be more than significant.
Bet Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal at BookMaker
It’s taken Masvidal 48 fights to finally get a shot at a title and he really has nothing to lose in this bout. He’s long been considered a contender and has to be confident after dominating in 2019. And he presents a different challenge to Usman, who was prepping to fight Burns. Now the champ gets the complete opposite in a taller and more lethal striker in Masvidal. Again, the conditioning concerns me. There’s no way Masvidal can be in top physical condition after agreeing to the fight a week ago. The longer this fight goes the better off Usman is. If Masvidal is to pull the upset it’s going to be by (T)KO early. But I don’t think that’s happening.
UFC 251 Odds Pick: Kamaru Usman / Decision
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– Phil Simon, Gambling911.com