UFC Fight Island debut features South Florida’s Jorge Masvidal, Kamaru Usman, Amanda Ribas

Jim Varsallone

UFC 251 marks the debut of UFC president Dana White’s innovative idea, Fight Island, on Saturday from Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Fight Island includes international fighters unable to travel to The UFC Apex in Las Vegas for fights because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The inaugural Fight Island show (UFC 251) is a pay-per-view super card with three title fights and more which showcases star international athletes and top talent from the states like Florida, more specifically our backyard.

In the main event — an epic contest with South Florida ties — welterweight champ Kamaru Usman of Sanford MMA (formerly Hard Knocks 365) in Deerfield Beach fights Miami’s Jorge Masvidal of American Top Team in Coconut Creek.

In the UFC 251 main event -- a spectacular of fighters with South Florida ties -- welterweight champ Kamaru Usman of Sanford MMA (formerly Hard Knocks 365) in Deerfield Beach fights Miami’s Jorge Masvidal of American Top Team in Coconut Creek on Saturday, July 11, 2020 on Fight Island.
In the UFC 251 main event -- a spectacular of fighters with South Florida ties -- welterweight champ Kamaru Usman of Sanford MMA (formerly Hard Knocks 365) in Deerfield Beach fights Miami’s Jorge Masvidal of American Top Team in Coconut Creek on Saturday, July 11, 2020 on Fight Island.

Masvidal, the BMF champ, replaces Gilbert Burns, who tested positive for COVID-19. Interestingly enough, Burns, like Usman, trains at Sanford MMA in Deerfield Beach.

Since Burns and Usman train at the same facility, Usman opted to train for UFC 251 in Denver.

After Burns tested positive, Masvidal accepted the replacement opportunity on six days notice. He helped train ATT teammate Dustin Poirier for his recent UFC fight and kept himself in fighting shape recently. His coach, Mike Brown, will not be in his corner, because he tested positive for COVID-19.

Born in Auchi, Edo State Nigeria and raised in Nigeria and Arlington, Texas, Usman, 33, resides in Boca Raton. Masvidal, 35, is born, raised and currently living in Miami. He was born and raised by a Peruvian mother and a Cuban father, who defected from Cuba to Miami in a self-made raft.

It’s The Nigerian Nightmare (16-1) vs. Gamebred (35-13) for the title on ESPN+.

Here is the virtual media day Q&A with main eventers Masvidal and Usman.

Also on the main card, Amanda Ribas (9-1) battles Paige 12 Gauge VanZant (8-4) in a strawweight matchup.

Ribas, 26, is from Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Like Masvidal, she is on the American Top Team roster in Coconut Creek. Upon signing with UFC, she moved to South Florida in 2016, joining ATT.

Her last fight occurred March 14 on a UFC Fight Night card in Brazil. During the pandemic, she remained in Brazil, training with her father and brother under the Marcelo Ribas Team banner for UFC 251.

Here is the virtual media day Q&A with Ribas and VanZant.

VanZant, 26, of Dundee, Oregon trains at Team Quest — Gracie Barra. This is her final bout under her UFC contract as she then becomes a free agent.

There are five stellar bouts on the main card, which starts at 10 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN+ PPV.

That is 6 a.m. Abu Dhabi time Sunday.

Prelims and early prelims are prior.

UFC 251 from Fight Island

Main Card at 10 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN+

Welterweight Champ Kamaru Usman (16-1) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-13)

Featherweight Champ Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) vs. Max Holloway (21-5)

In a rematch for the UFC featherweight title, new champ Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) battles Max Holloway (21-5) on the main card of UFC 251 on July 11, 2020 during the debut of UFC’s Fight Island.
In a rematch for the UFC featherweight title, new champ Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) battles Max Holloway (21-5) on the main card of UFC 251 on July 11, 2020 during the debut of UFC’s Fight Island.

Here is the virtual media day Q&A with Volkanovski and Holloway.

Bantamweight Title: Petr Yan (14-1) vs. Jose Aldo (28-6)

Strawweight: Jéssica Andrade (20-7) vs. Rose Namajunas (9-4)

On the main card at UFC 251 on Fight Island, Jéssica Andrade (20-7) versus Rose Namajunas (9-4) in a strawweight battle on Saturday, July 11 via ESPN+.
On the main card at UFC 251 on Fight Island, Jéssica Andrade (20-7) versus Rose Namajunas (9-4) in a strawweight battle on Saturday, July 11 via ESPN+.

Flyweight: Amanda Ribas (9-1) vs. Paige VanZant (8-4)

Amanda Ribas of American Top Team in (South Florida) Coconut Creek against Paige VanZant of Team Quest - Gracie Barra in Portland, Oregon.
Amanda Ribas of American Top Team in (South Florida) Coconut Creek against Paige VanZant of Team Quest - Gracie Barra in Portland, Oregon.

Prelims at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+

Light heavyweight: Volkan Oezdemir (17-4) vs. Jiri Prochazka (26-3-1)

Welterweight: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (22-6) vs. Muslim Salikhov (16-2)

Featherweight: Makwan Amirkhani (15-4) vs. Danny Henry (12-3)

Lightweight: Leonardo Santos (17-4-1) vs. Roman Bogatov (10-0)

Early Prelims at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass

Heavyweight: Marcin Tybura (18-6) vs. Alexandr Romanov (11-0)

Flyweight: Raulian Paiva (19-3) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-3)

Bantamweight: Karol Rosa (12-3) vs. Vanessa Melo (10-7)

Bantamweight: Martin Day (8-3) vs. Davey Grant (11-4)

https://www.espn.com/mma/ufc/story/_/id/29411415/sources-ufc-negotiations-kamaru-usman-vs-jorge-masvidal-ufc-251

https://www.foxsports.com.au/ufc/ufcs-fight-island-finally-revealed-as-aussie-champ-to-feature-in-first-of-four-events/news-story/cf87688910bd38f6f77c072b1559726b

UFC on Fight Island

UFC on Fight Island continues on July 15, 18 and 25.

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