UFC 251 live Updates: Fight Island show in Abu Dhabi

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Usman retains his welterweight title!

Kamaru Usman triumphed in the headline bout at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, defending his welterweight crown against long-time rival Jorge Masvidal.The Nigeria-born champion, originally slated to face Gilbert Burns, saw off the American via a unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) at Flash Forum to top the card at the Fight Island opener.


Contesting his first world title bout in his 49th official mixed martial arts fight, Masvidal had taken the fight on six days’ notice after Burns had tested positive for Covid-19.However, Usman used his superior conditioning and wrestling to stave off any real threat, and moved him to 12-0 in the UFC. Overall, his mixed martial arts record stands at 17-1


‘I came here with heart and bravery’

Leonardo Santos after his win over Roman Bogatov:“I feel great and blessed to have the chance to be a part of history. I love my life and enjoy fighting. I just want to say thank you to the UFC and Dana White for being brave and having a big organisation to fight for my family, country and team.”I expected a great fight. He’s a warrior and I knew it would be a hard fight. “I didn’t have enough time to do a perfect camp. So I just came here with my heart, bravery and experience.

That’s what I did in the Octagon. The most important thing is the win.”The fouls were weird because he did them three times. The last one, I saw him stand up and so I just blocked my ribs. Thanks to God to give me the strength to get to the end of the fight. “After my last fight I asked for someone in the top 10 or top five and no one answered me. So I don’t care. I’m healthy and happy. I’ll be ready.”


Yan is the new bantamweight champion!

Petr Yan is the new UFC bantamweight champion after dispatching Jose Aldo.
The Russian, who has taken the promotion by storm since joining two years ago, saw off the UFC great by a fifth-round TKO after rocking his opponent and then smothering him on the canvas. The victory moves Yan to 7-0 in the UFC.

The belt had become available following former champion Henry Cejudo’s shock decision to retire immediately after his successful defence in May against Dominic Cruz. Aldo, a former featherweight champion, was attempting to join the select band of athletes to have captured titles at two different weights.

Main event stars are in the building

Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Jorge Masvidal have arrived at Flash Forum ahead of their mouth watering showdown at UFC 251


Rose Namajunas

Redemption for Rose Namajunas, who avenges her defeat last year to Jessica Andrade with a split-decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). Namajunas, who relinquished her strawweight belt to the Brazilian last May, hasn’t fought since, and had to overcome personal tragedy earlier this year too. Her corner were laughing through second round: “I love that you’re having fun!” Namajunas smiled back. Yet Andrade came on strong in the third, leaving his opponent heavily bloodied and bruised. Brilliant fight; brilliant heart from both.

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Ribas Wins

And the quickest finish of the night thus far goes to Amanda Ribas, who submits Paige VanZant in next-to-no time. Officially clocked at two mins and 21 secs, the fast-rising Brazilian locks in the arm bar and gets another big-name win. Most likely VanZant’s final UFC appearance, the American fights back tears as departs. So, too, Ribas, but she’s ecstatic. That infectious laugh can be heard all the way through her octagon-side interview. Future contender at flyweight

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‘I want to take a title’

Jiri Prochazka after his win over Volkan Oezdemir:“I want to take a title and that’s all. That’s my mission. That’s my mission here, but not just the title, but my performance. I need to work on it, you watched that. Some mistakes. So let’s go.”

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Prochazka with a stunning KO!

So that’s what all the hype’s about then. Jiri Prochazka marks his UFC debut with a crushing KO of Volkan Oezdemir, dropping his rival with a huge right. So 27 wins, 23 coming by KO. No wonder former champ Michael Bisping, commentating on the other side of the octagon, was audibly impressed. Entertaining (feigns injury, etc) and emphatic. Look out the light heavyweight division.


Debutant Jiri Prochazka ready for his long-awaited UFC bow, having won 23 of his 26 wins by KO. Popcorn bout ahoy. 


Salikhov takes it on split decision

Tough one to call there as the two fighters exchanged a number of blows without really rocking one another. But the judges give it to Muslim Salikhov on a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28). Zaleski dos Santos isn’t happy, shaking head in disgust as he walks past us. In contrast, the “King of Kung Fu” Salikhov flexes his muscles on way out. No doubt an emotional time for the Dagestan native following the death last week of compatriot Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap


‘I loved fighting on Fight Island’

Marcin Tybura after his win over Maxim Grishin:
“I’m feeling great. Given the circumstances of the pandemic, then fighting here on Fight Island and winning—it’s amazing. “I worked lots of wrestling for this fight, because my original opponent was more of a wrestler. There was a change of opponent and I decided to wrestle him. We planned that I may not be successful at first, but I knew eventually I’d take him down. “I loved fighting on Fight Island. It’s amazing what the UFC’s doing. That’s why I’m so happy to be a part of it. “My last two fights were out of the top 15. I would like to start climbing the rankings. I’m thinking Aleksei Oleinik would be a good matchup for me right now.”

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Amirkhani gets it done in the first

Makwan Amirkhani racks up another first-round victory with a submission against Dan Henry. The Finn takes out the Scot with a lovely anaconda choke that looked perfect in technique – which we’ve come to expect. First thing Amirkhani did upon winning was raise Henry’s legs to help get the circulation back. Dances off to Cyprus Hill. Night’s work: 3 mins, 15 secs.- John McAuley at Flash Forum

Santos claims the UD win

Well, fireworks, kind of. Almost a knockout, a superb second-round rally and plenty of low blows – the latter of which all felt by Leonardo Santos. The Brazilian spent more time prone on the canvas recovering, it felt like, before Roman Bogatov finally had two points deducted to eventually lose (29-26, 29-26, 29-26). It was Bogatov’s first pro MMA defeat, coming on his UFC debut. He’s now 10-1. The 40-year-old, who had his opponent scrambling in the second, sees off the young pretender

Tybura dominates on points

Early prelims come to a close as Maxim Grishin takes this heavyweight encounter against Marcin Tybura (30-27, 30-27, 30-26). The big Pole dominated his Russian rival for much of the contest, especially the third. There’s also a Fight Island bow for popular ref Herb Dean, who was spotted at the breakfast buffet earlier. Wonder if he had the 6am (Saturday) Covid-19 test like the rest of us


Zhalgas Zhumagulov makes his way out of Flash Forum after taking a couple of strong kicks below the belt during his defeat to Raulian Paiva. Looks like the the Kazakh fighter is still feeling it as he leaves the arena