Per Brett Okamoto of ESPN, reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will defend his title against top contender and teammate Gilbert Burns at UFC 251.
The news comes just a week removed from Burns’ victory over former champion Tyron Woodley, who Usman dominated last year in order to win the welterweight strap.
At this current time, the division is in a unique predicament, as there are three perennial contenders all worthy at a shot of gold; some more than others. Assuming travel restrictions prevented Leon Edwards from accepting the bout, both Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal were left in a two-man race to whom would receive the chance of a lifetime.
Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns will headline UFC 251 on July 11. https://t.co/b9Rs2zXdpM
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) June 9, 2020
UFC was desperately attempting to book Usman vs. Masvidal, however it was confirmed by Ariel Helwani that the promotion could not come to terms with Masvidal and his team. Lately, Masvidal has joined the likes of Jon Jones and Gray Maynard in slating fighter pay, going as far to request his own release from the organization. Because of his unwillingness to fight on the UFC’s terms – for better or for worse – in steps Gilbert Burns.
This title fight will be taking place on Fight Island, which is officially known as Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi. The confirmed main card for UFC 251 can be found below, taking place on July 11:
- Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns (UFC Welterweight title)
- Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway (UFC Featherweight title)
- Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo (vacant UFC Bantamweight title)
- Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade 2
- Paige VanZant vs. Amanda Ribas