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UFC 251 FIght Island recap: Winners, losers, and are there new champs?

After much anticipation, UFC 251 took place on Saturday, held in Abu Dhabi at Yas Island. Dana White’s “fight island” dream finally came to fruition. Was it successful? Definitely! Let’s recap the main card.

Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant

I have to say VanZant did not belong on the main card of UFC 251. She continues to disappoint as a fighter and seemed to be placed there to make Ribas look good. A boring fight, but a decent submission by Ribas. Until VanZant can perform as a top-ranked fighter, keep her on the prelims.

Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas

Arguably fight of the night! “Thug” Rose held her own in this rematch with an impressive win. Rose put on a boxing expo and demonstrated she could switch sports if she so desired. Andrade devasted Rose with a bodyslam knockout in the last match, but Rose flipped the script and went the distance dominating the first two rounds. Andrade’s third-round rally wasn’t enough to secure the decision in her favor.

Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo

This fight started great, and both fighters were handling themselves. Then the third round happened. It turned into a murder scene. Petr Yan rained shot after shot onto Aldo forcing the announcers to wonder aloud why the fight hadn’t been stopped! Aldo was on his knees stuck just trying to protect his dome piece from each crippling blow Yan threw in the final moments. The ref showed mercy and called it, making this the only TKO on the main card. Making Yan the new interim Bantamweight Champion. Many have taken to the internet to slam the ref for not calling the fight sooner. I’m afraid I have to disagree, for a title each fighter deserves as much of an opportunity to recover as possible, and Aldo failed on his own.

Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway

Fans reacted horribly to the judge’s decision on this rematch to pick Volkanovski over Holloway. This selection enabled Volkanovski to retain his title as he wanted but didn’t manage to squash the naysayers with his skills. Each fighter secured two rounds each, but Volkanovski managed to pull the win out strategically in the final round. Since it was close in both fights between these two, fans are now left to wonder, will there be a third?

Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal

Boring fight? Casuals say that about Floyd Mayweather’s boxing, but ignore the actual skill he possesses. The same statements are being whispered about Usman and this fight with Masvidal. I disagree and believe Usman put on a punishing display to retain his title! He managed to stuff every attempt Masvidal made to gain control of the battle, clearly controlling the match’s pace and ensuring he stayed safe while securing the win. This match was an outstanding technical fight; that said, Usman should never shout that he deserves the BMF belt. That still stands with Masvidal, who wanted an all-out brawl but was outmaneuvered at every step. I’m excited to see who both these fighters go up against next.

Overall, UFC 251 was a success

Dana White protected fighters health, provided fans a matchup they craved, and sprinkled in some other outstanding talent. Our new Shao Kahn did well in securing “Fight Island,” and with COVID-19 still hindering world operations, I expect we will see it host additional cards soon.

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