UFC 251 takes place at at “Fight Island” which is just Yas Island in Abu Dhabi re-branded. This marks the first UFC pay-per-view event abroad since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March
The card is headlined by a grudge match between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, who comes in as a late replacement. Alexander Volkanovski faces Max Holloway for the featherweight championship in the a co-main event, and Petr Yan will take on Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title.
There are five fights on the main card, four on the preliminary card, and four on the early preliminary card. We’ll be tracking all the results tonight, providing the winner and how they secured their victory. Follow along throughout the evening!
Martin Day vs. Davey Grant - Bantamweight
Winner: Davey Grant
Winning Method: Davey Grant wins by knockout (left hook) at 2:38 of the third round.
Wow. After an entertaining fight on both the feet and the mat, Grant caught Day pure and had him out on the canvas.
Karol Rosa vs. Vanessa Melo - Women’s Bantamweight
Winner: Karol Rosa
Winning Method: Karol Rosa wins by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27).
At no point did it look like the fight was in doubt. Rosa did her job against her opponent that missed weight by a massive five pounds. Rosa was a -278 favorite, and +125 to need the judges to win. Meanwhile with the weight miss and an 0-3 record, Melo might be done in the UFC.
Raulian Paiva vs. Zhalgas Zhamagulov - Flyweight
Winner: Raulian Paiva
Winning Method: Raulian Paiva wins by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). This was one quite close, and a low blow from Paiva in the final round certainly had an impact. But Zhamagulov certainly did the Kazakhstan flag he displayed prominently proud. Unfortunate that a fighter that missed weight by three pounds finds a way to win a close one here.
Marcin Tybura vs. Maxim Grishin - Heavyweight
Winner: Marcin Tybura
Winning Method: Marcin Tybura wins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
At no point was this close, and it certainly looked like Tybura was going to get the finish in the third round. Grishin was conceding 30 pounds and just too much UFC experience to ever be competitive.
Leonardo Santos vs. Roman Bogatov - Lightweight
Winner: Leonardo Santos
Winning Method: Leonardo Santos wins by unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-26). It was an awkward and disjointed fight, filled with stoppages, illegal knees, and groin strikes from Bogatov. He had two points deducted, and he’s lucky it wasn’t more. A 15 minute fight took nearly half-an-hour to complete, and was not a good display of how the sport of mixed martial arts should look.
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Danny Henry - Featherweight
Winner: Makwan Amirkhani
Winning Method: Makwan Amirkhani wins by submission (Anaconda choke) at 3:15 of the first round.
It was a gorgeous spate of grappling by “Mr. Finland,” who wins with a technically perfect movement.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Muslim Salikhov - Welterweight
Winner: Muslim Salikhov
Winning Method: Muslim Salikhov wins by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28).
It was a pretty even fight with dos Santos winning on significant strikes 49-42, but Salikhov seeming to have a bit more power. It would be nice the judges were even close on who deserved the victory.
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jiri Prochazka - Light Heavyweight
Winner: Jiri Prochazka
Winning Method: Jiri Prochazka wins by knockout at 49 seconds of the second round.
A kick to stun, a right hand to finish it. Outstanding job by the official to make sure the damage wasn’t worse. Oezdemir likely loses his #7 ranking, and Prochazka enters the Top 15 for sure.
Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant - Women’s Flyweight
Winner: Amanda Ribas
Winning Method: Amanda Ribas wins by submission (armbar) at 2:21 of the first round.
As a -900 favorite when the fight closed, the outcome wasn’t in much doubt. Ribas continues to improve, and we might have seen the last of VanZant in MMA.
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas - Women’s Strawweight
Winner: Rose Namajunas
Winning Method: Rose Namajunas wins by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
It was a stand-up slugfest, but Namajunas did just a bit more to win. She led in significant strikes 118-95, including 92 headshots to her Brazilian opponent. An entertaining fight, and only one successful takedown from Andrade in three attempts was likely the difference.
Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo Bantamweight championship (vacant)
Winner: Petr Yan
Winning Method: Petr Yan wins by TKO (strikes) at 3:24 of the fifth round.
Yan dominated more and more as the fight went on, and Aldo was subjected to about three minutes of strikes to the head while bleeding everywhere. It probably should have been stopped two minutes before it was, and hopefully Aldo is ok, but a dominant performance from Yan and he is a deserving bantamweight champion.
What a performance by Petr Yan (-250)‼️— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) July 12, 2020
Yan beats down Jose Aldo in Round 5 to become the new undisputed Bantamweight champ pic.twitter.com/Qgr4PVlv0V
Alexander Volkanovski (c) vs. Max Holloway - Featherweight championship
Winner: Alexander Volkanovski
Winning Method: Alexander Volkanovski wins by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).
It was a really close fight, and a lot of people will struggle to find three rounds Volkanovski won. He for sure won the fifth and possibly the fourth, but it seems Holloway might have gotten the short end of the stick here. Holloway landed eight more strikes, 152-144, but there was also three takedowns and 1:29 of ground control for the champion.
A tough, technical fight, and one that will be controversial.
Kamaru Usman (C) vs. Jorge Masvidal - Welterweight championship
Winner: Kamaru Usman
Winning Method: Kamaru Usman wins by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46).
Usman simply controlled the fight from the second round on, holding Masvidal up against the fence pretty clearly and showing ring generalship. Masvidal’s conditioning after taking the fight on six days notice was certainly a question. Usman wins with 94-68 on the significant strikes (which doesn’t count about 100 foot stomps), and 16:28-0:00 in ground control.