After months of controversy and anticipation, UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal, the first pay-per-view to take place at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, takes place this Saturday with a UFC-record three championships on the line.
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The UFC has been one of PlaySugarHouse.com’s most popular events to wager on since sports returned to play following the COVID-19 pandemic, ranking behind only international soccer and golf as most wagered sporting events. The UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal odds expects to be among the most popular bets on the UFC calendar.
The main event of UFC 251 features a welterweight championship bout between champ Kamaru Usman (-305) and controversial fan-favorite Jorge Masvidal (+230), a late replacement for Gibert Burns, who tested positive for COVID-19 a week prior to the event.
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal takes place on Saturday, July 11. The early prelims begin at 6:00 p.m. ET, only on UFC Fight Pass. The UFC 251 prelims begin at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN, with the main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and pay-per-view.
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal Odds: Main Event
Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman (16-1) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-13)
Kamaru Usman (-265) was expected to defend the welterweight title against former training partner Gilbert Burns, but a positive test for COVID-19 by Burns a week prior forced a late change. Now Usman will face wildly popular slugger and current holder of the UFC’s “BMF Championship,” Jorge Masvidal (+210).
Usman was a -235 favorite to defeat Burns, and the line has jumped since the announcement of the opponent change. The late change favors cardio-machine Usman, and while Masvidal is more entertaining and savvy than Burns, he does not possess the same athleticism.
Usman is the favorite to win for the 11th time in 12 UFC appearances. He entered UFC 235 as a +105 underdog against then-champion Tyron Woodley (-145), and won the fight title via unanimous decision. Eight of Usman’s 11 UFC victories have come via unanimous decision.
- Usman to win by Decision: Yes (+140), No (-195)
- Usman to win by Finish: Yes (+175), No (-295)
- Usman Winning Method: Decision (+140), KO/TKO/DQ (+200), Submission (+1200
- Usman Winning Round: Round 1 (+700), Round 2 (+850), Round 3 (+1000), Round 4 (+1400) Round 5 (+1800)
Usman is an explosive wrestler with the cardio to match. He has the power potential to change the fight with his fists and has a strong guillotine and arm-triangle choke. But Usman holds just three finish victories in his 11 UFC fights, meaning his fights tend to go the distance.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” defeated Hayder Hassan via second-round arm-triangle choke in the Ultimate Fighter Season 21 Finale in July 2015 and holds a first-round KO victory over Sergio Moraes in September 2017 and a fifth-round TKO victory over Colby Covington in December 2019.
Masvidal, like Usman, has heavy fists and a heavy chin. Ten of Masvidal’s 13 losses have come via decision, with his last stoppage loss taking place over a decade ago Unless there is an early finish, this fight is likely to enter the later rounds.
- Masvidal to win by Decision: Yes (+1000), No (-5000)
- Masvidal to win by Finish: Yes (+265), No (-400)
- Masvidal Winning Method: KO/TKO/DQ (+275), Decision (+1000), Submission (+2000)
Masvidal, whose professional career began all the way back in 2003, rose to fame thanks to his UFC-record five-second knockout of Ben Askren via flying knee at UFC 239 last July. He followed up that victory with a doctor’s stoppage victory over Nate Diaz for the symbolic UFC “BMF Championship” belt at UFC 244 in November.
All but one of Masvidal’s seven finishes inside The Octagon have taken place in the first two rounds. Picking Masvidal to beat Usman in the first round is +700 moneyline, while a Masvidal stoppage win in the second round is +1100.
Masvidal is looking to finish the fight with every strike, but isn’t the type to gas himself out or get caught sleeping. His struggles typically come against physically imposing fighters with a strong grappling pedigree. Usman fits that bill.
- To go the distance: Yes (+110), No (-148)
- Total Rounds: Over 4.5 (+100), Under 4.5 (-134)
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal Odds: Co-Main Event
Featherweight Championship: Alex Volkanovski (21-1) vs. Max Holloway (21-5)
Former featherweight champion Max Holloway (+185) looks to retain his belt against Alex Volkanovski (-230), who defeated Holloway for the championship in December via unanimous decision. Volkanovski opened as a -210 favorite to beat Holloway, who opened at +170. Expect that line to continue moving up until the two fighters step inside The Octagon.
UFC 251 marks Holloway’s seventh straight fight in which a championship is on the line. Holloway has won 19 fights inside the UFC, including a 12-fight win streak from 2014 to 2019, but has dropped two of his last three.
Holloway has won via TKO/KO nine times, via decision eight times and via submission twice. Of his five losses, all but one — a submission loss in his UFC debut — have come via decision. Holloway has never been knocked out in his professional career.
- Holloway to win by Finish: Yes (+500), No (-1000)
- Holloway to win by Decision: Yes (+300), No (-480)
- Holloway Winning Method: Decision (+300), KO/TKO/DQ (+700),Submission (+1600)
Volkanovski enters his first title defense having won all eight of his fights under the UFC banner, with five coming via decision and three via second-round TKO. Volkanovski is currently +1600 to win in the second round and -115 to win via decision.
- Volkanovski to win by Finish: Yes (+350), No (-590)
- Volkanovski to win by Decision: Yes (-115), No (-480)
- Volkanovski Winning Method: Decision (-115), KO/TKO/DQ (+400), Submission (+1400)
The co-main event comes down to Holloway being able to stay on the outside and control the tempo of the fight. In their first meeting, Holloway stayed in the pocket, allowing the stockier, more powerful Volkanovski to land significant strikes. Volkanovski chipped away and edged out a decision victory.
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal Odds: Co-Main Event
Vacant Bantamweight Championship: Petr Yan (14-1) vs. Jose Aldo (28-6)
The third title fight on the UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal card is for the vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship. Future Hall of Famer Jose Aldo (+200) meets surging superstar Petr Yan (-250) in a fight that of past vs. future. Yan is a perfect 6-0 in his UFC career, most recently defeating UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber via third-round head-kick KO. This marks Yan’s first five-round fight in the UFC and the third of his professional career. His only career loss took place in a five-round fight in 2016. Of Yan’s 14 career wins, only three have taken place inside the first round.
- Yan Winning Method: KO/TO/DQ (+120), Decision (+275), Submission (+1400)
- Yan Win by Finish: Yes (+105), No (-143)
- Yan Win by Decision: (Yes +275), No (-435)
Aldo, who famously went a full decade without tasting defeat, enters UFC 251 having dropped two straight and five of his last eight. Of the five losses, two were via decision and three via TKO/KO.
- Aldo Winning Method: Decision (+400),, KO/TO/DQ (+450), Submission (+1600)
- Aldo Win by Finish: Yes (+375), No (-670)
- Aldo Win by Decision: (Yes +400), No (-715)
A submission victory for either man is possible, but not incredibly likely. Yan has just one submission win on his ledger, while Aldo’s lone submission loss took place 15 years ago.
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal Odds: Main Card
In non-title action, UFC poster girl Paige VanZant (+525) tussles with Amanda Ribas (-835), unbeaten in her three-fight UFC career. Ribas opened as a-770 favorite to win, with the odds only getting steeper as the fight approaches. VanZant enters the fight having fought just three times in four years, losing two of three. Although Ribas has three-career victories via TKO/KO, this fight is likely to be determined on the mat or by the judges. Six of Ribas’ nine victories are via submission or decision, while VanZant’s four defeats are split between submission and decision losses.
The UFC 251 main card opener between former UFC Women’s Strawweight champions Rose Namajunas (-200) locks horns with Jessica Andrade (+162) in a rematch of their May 2019 fight in which Andrade slammed “Thug Rose” on her head, knocking her out in the second round to win the belt. Namajunas entered the first fight as a slight favorite and was winning the fight before the wild sequence occurred. Andrade then dropped the title in her next fight, losing to Weili Zhang via first-round TKO.
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal Odds: Main Card
- Kamaru Usman (16-1, -265) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-13, +210)
- Alexander Volkanovski (21-1, -230) vs. Max Holloway (21-5, +185)
- Petr Yan (14-1, -250) vs. Jose Aldo (28-6, +200)
- Rose Namajunas (9-4, -200) vs. Jessica Andrade (20-7, +162)
- Amanda Ribas (9-1, -835) vs. Paige VanZant (8-4, +525)
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal Odds: Preliminary Card
- Volkan Oezdemir (17-4, -177) vs. Jiri Prochazka (26-3-1, +140)
- vs. Muslim Salikhov (16-2, -124) vs. Elizeu dos Santos (22-6, +100)
- Makwan Amirkhani (15-4, -215) vs. Danny Henry (12-3, +170)
- Leonardo Santos (17-4-1, -190) vs. Roman Bogatov (10-0, +150)
UFC 251 Usman vs. Masvidal Odds: Early Preliminary Card
- Marcin Tybura (18-6, -112) vs. Maxim Grishin (30-7-2, -112)
- Raulian Paiva (19-3, -190) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (13-3, +150)
- Karol Rosa (12-3, -240) vs. Vanessa Melo (10-7, +185)
- Martin Day (8-3, -190) vs. Davey Grant (11-4, +150)
(Odds as of 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 7. All times EST)