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Media members make their lock picks for UFC 251

The fight card of the year brings together those that cover MMA to make their choices. We’ve got each person’s best pick.

In this handout image provided by UFC, (L-R) Opponents Kamaru Usman of Nigeria and Jorge Masvidal face off during the UFC 251 official weigh-in inside Flash Forum at UFC Fight Island on July 10, 2020 on Yas Island Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 251 is less than 24 hours away, and a few of our favorite members of the MMA media have put in their picks for DraftKings Sportsbook’s free picks contest that asks questions about tomorrow’s pay-per-view card from “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi. There’s $1000 on the line, and it’s free to enter for everyone! All you need is a DraftKings account, and the foresight to know what will happen in the United Arab Emirates on the main card tomorrow night.

The pool has 10 questions, so we asked each person covering to find the one they thought was a lock. There was a wide range of opinion, and it gives a good idea of what those covering the sport think will happen during the card of the year.

Media Locks UFC 251 Picks

Outlet Name Twitter Pick Reason
Outlet Name Twitter Pick Reason
VSiN Kelley Bydlon @KelleyVSiN Usman (to win, over 4.5 rounds) Short notice fight for Masvidal and new opponent on short notice for Usman. Expect Usman to need a few rounds to settle in before winning by decision. Should be a good fight, but hard for me to imagine either fighter winning this one before it goes to the judges.
Catena Media Pete Amato @Pete_Amato Petr Yan (to win) Jose Aldo was once a great champion, but it's time to retire. He doesn't have anything left.
PlayUSA Brant James @brantjames Usman to win TBD
Gaming Today News Lou Monaco @loumonaco Rose Namajunas By KO, TKO, DQ - she will be very tough to beat!
SB Nation Radio Matt Perrault @sportstalkmatt Usman to win Usman is the bigger, stronger man. He will be able to control Masvidal and not get into the fire fight that Jorge needs win. Usman is the better mixed martial artist and while it might not be a fun fight, I believe he will win more rounds and potentially stop Masvidal in the championship rounds. Nate Diaz wasn’t strong enough to move Masvidal around, but that won’t be a problem for Usman.
PlayNJ Dave Bontempo @bontempomedia Volkanovski (by decision) Volkanovski was masterful in the first encounter and will display more confidence as a champion. He should try to stay with the same package of stand-up boxing, power and aggression that rewarded him. Holloway will try some new tactics to pressure Volkanovski, but I like a repeat.
Sports Illustrated Casey Olson @caseyolson2 Volkanovski (by decision) Holloway hasnt gone to the gym or seen his coaches during his UFC 251 training camp. Holloway had no training partners and did not spar. The team was taking precautions -- legal and otherwise -- during the coronavirus pandemic, which included a stay-at-home order in Hawaii. He's literally done zoom sessions until finally linking up with his team on Fight Island. Also, he's been vocal about this being just another fight, a little too casual as he has a shot to reclaim the belt from the guy who took it from him here. I just havent seen the motivation I'd like to see from him here while on the flip side, Volkanovski didnt get the credit he deserved by beating him in their first match up. I'd suspect we see him put on a performance to validate his spot as the true undisputed featherweight champ.
Sports Byline USA Mike Sempervive @Sempervive Rose Namajunas (TKO in 4th round) Rose Namajunas. Not taking anything away from Jessica Andrade but, whatever the mental block was the first time around, that version of Rose was a little off - and she brutally paid for it. But I believe that slam, while forever in the highlight reel, was a once-in-a-career moment for Namajunas, who's always been able to respond to losses or difficulties with great vengeance. And, even with all of the personal strife she's suffered recently, losing loved ones to COVID-19, I believe she returns with ferocity.
Heavy Kelsey McCarson @kelsey_mccarson Volkanovski (to beat Holloway again via unanimous decision) Holloway enjoyed one of the most impressive runs in UFC featherweight history, but Volkanovski is a physical freak and just plain natural fighter who has the former champ's number. I think Volkanoski wins even more convincingly this time than he did last year at UFC 245. Holloway's caginess and toughness save him from the stoppage but not the loss on the scorecards.
Vox Media David Fucillo @davidfucillo Usman (to win) Given the late replacement.
Vox Media Collin Sherwin @collinsherwin Namajunas to win The talent gap here isn't reflected in the odds. Namajunas is far and away the better fighter.

So what say you? What do you think will be the best fight, biggest upset, and how will they finish? There’s three UFC championships on the line in the octagon, but real cash up for grabs as well for those at home. Enter here!