Per Ariel Helwani and multiple sources, negotiations between Kamaru Usman (16-1 MMA, 11-0 UFC) and Jorge Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 12-6 UFC) have been finalized as of this morning, Sun., July 5. The two fighters are now set to compete at UFC 251 on Sat., July 11 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
After the main event between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns fell out on Friday, due to Burns testing positive for COVID-19, Jorge Masvidal was one of the first to throw his name in the hat to be a last minute replacement for the UFC 251 championship main event. After days of negotiating, both Usman and Masvidal have agreed to terms to fight in Abu Dhabi in a little less than a week.
Usman was originally supposed to defend his belt against Masvidal after the two got into a confrontation earlier this year on Super Bowl media row in Miami, Florida. After Masvidal allegedly priced himself out of negotiations, the fight was then given to Burns after he defeated former welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, in a one sided affair in late May.
As it stands now, Usman and Masvidal are not out in the clear just yet. Each fighter needs to complete and pass a COVID-19 test in Vegas before they take off for Abu Dhabi. If they can pass the tests in Vegas, the two fighters will likely be flown out to Abu Dhabi tomorrow, Mon., May 6. Upon their arrival in Abu Dhabi, they will be required to take a final COVID-19 test. If the results come back negative, the main event title fight will then officially be on for Saturday.
Masvidal took an antibody test for COVID-19 on Saturday, sources say, which shows whether or not a person has contracted the virus in the past, but does not show whether or not a person currently has it.
Masvidal’s stock has risen drastically since coming off of a career best year in 2019. After defeating the likes of Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz, he found himself in conversation for 2019’s fighter of the year.
In addition, UFC 251’s main card will also feature a rematch between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway for the featherweight title, and a fight between former featherweight champ, Jose Aldo, and rising prospect, Petr Yan, for the vacant bantamweight title, totaling up to a total of three title fights. The card will also feature a highly anticipated rematch between two former women’s strawweight champions in Rose Namajunas, and Jessica Andrade.