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Reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is a significant favorite heading into his title defense against short-notice foe Jorge Masvidal.
As of Sunday evening, Usman was listed as a -313 favorite in the UFC 251 main event, according to online oddsmaker BetOnline. Masvidal, meanwhile, checks in as a +263 underdog. Masvidal accepted the fight on less than one week’s notice after Gilbert Burns was forced to withdraw from the event due to a positive COVID-19 test. Odds are subject to change as the fight draws near.
Usman has won 11 consecutive fights in UFC competition. He claimed the 170-pound belt with a dominant five-round verdict over Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 and defended the crown with a fifth-round stoppage of Colby Covington this past December. He also owns notable wins over the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Demian Maia and Leon Edwards.
Masvidal become a hot commodity in 2019 thanks to authoring finishes of Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. “Gamebred” had previously been unhappy about the directions of negotiations for a potential fight with Usman, claiming he had earned more for his win over Diaz at UFC 244. Both sides were able to come to terms when Usman needed a new opponent for UFC 251, however.
UFC 251 takes place on Saturday at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and airs on pay-per-view via ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+. Two other championship fights are featured on the main card, as Alexander Volkanovski defends the featherweight strap in a rematch with Max Holloway, while Jose Aldo and Petr Yan will meet for the vacant bantamweight crown.