UFC 251 adds Usman-Burns and Yan-Aldo title fights to stacked card

Daniel Cunningham
Dec 14, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kamaru Usman (red gloves) reacts before a bout against Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

UFC President Dana White took to ESPN’s First Take this morning to announce three title fights for the upcoming July 11th on Fight Island.

It started to come out last night that the UFC was planning on booking the featherweight title rematch between Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) and Max Holloway (21-5) for UFC 251. It was rumored that they would be adding two more title fights, and White confirmed the news this morning.

Kamaru Usman & Gilbert Burns fight for the welterweight title

Kamaru Usman (16-1) will be defending his welterweight title against rising challenger, Gilbert Burns (19-3). There has been nobody in the MMA world hotter in the last 10 months than Burns. “Durinho” has looked like a completely different fighter since moving to the welterweight division. He’s 4-0 in the division with wins over Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, Gunner Nelson, and Alexey Kunchenko. The win over Woodley came less than two weeks ago. Burns completely dominated the former champion from bell to bell shutting Woodley out. Burns looks incredibly strong and fast at 170. His striking looks great, and everyone knows his ground game is world class. He poses a very big challenge for the champion.

All year long, welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, believed he would be fighting Jorge Masvidal in July. Those negotiations have fallen completely apart over the last few weeks. Usman will now shift his focus to his teammate, Burns. Usman will look to defend his welterweight title for this second time at UFC 251. Usman is coming off the two biggest wins in his career over Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington. Covington gave Usman a battle, but outside of that, the champion has completely dominated every opponent that has stepped across the octagon from him. I’m very interested to see this fight take place on Fight Island.

Petr Yan vs Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title

The vacant bantamweight title will be up for grabs on Fight Island when Petr Yan (14-1) and Jose Aldo (28-6) go head to head. Since joining the UFC just under two years ago, Yan has looked completely dominant. He’s gone 6-0 with wins over the likes of Urijah Faber, Jimmie Rivera, and John Dodson. Yan is a very strong bantamweight, and he has incredibly good striking skills. One of these two guys in this title fight doesn’t really deserve to be there, and it’s not Petr Yan.

Aldo really should not be fighting for the title at UFC 251. Aldo has lost two consecutive fights and he’s 0-1 in the division. Yes, many people believe he won his bantamweight debut against Marlon Moraes, but the only ones that matter didn’t think so. The only reason Aldo was getting a shot at the title was Henry Cejudo. When Cejudo was champion, he wanted to fight Aldo for legacy reasons. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cejudo ended up fighting Dominick Cruz after Aldo was promised a title shot. Cejudo retired after defeating Cruz, and the UFC didn’t want to go back on their word to Aldo. With that in mind, the former featherweight king is getting his shot against arguably the best bantamweight in the world. This is a fight that is intriguing on a number of levels, and Aldo will look to become the eighth fighter in UFC history to hold a belt in two different weight classes.

Fight Island kicks off with a bang

UFC 251 is absolutely stacked. Fight Island, which we now know is in Abu Dhabi, has three title fights, and the card is filled with a number of incredible matchups up and down the card. This is one that all UFC fans should be pumped for. Yes, the card doesn’t feature the likes of a Conor McGregor, but if you’re a die-hard fight fan, this is the kind of card to die for.