The silly concept that is Fight Island has turned itself into a seriously compelling event.
When Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns fell through following Burns testing positive for COVID-19, it appeared the promotion would be down a title fight at UFC 251. Sure, there were two others that had plenty to offer fans. But when you promise three championship fights, well, you need to deliver.
Then the last-ditch, Hail Mary attempt to salvage the welterweight title fight paid off. Jorge Masvidal, who earlier this year declined a title fight after being low-balled by the promotion (though they surely feel differently), stepped up. Took a better deal, and took the fight. On six day’s notice.
Win or lose, Jorge Masvidal will reap the rewards of taking this short-notice title shot. That’s not just the payday he’s going to take home, but the respect and reverence from his fans which is certain to take a significant bump. And it will be very, very well-deserved.
Petr Yan isn’t can’t-miss TV, no matter who he’s fighting. Jose Aldo, while he lost his last fight on paper, is coming off one of his better performances in recent years. Aldo, circa 2010.
And the co-main event? Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2 promises to be a continuation of their first fight. A total crowd-pleaser, in other words.
So yes, fight island started a little silly. But we’re ready to set sail for it now.
Catch our full UFC 251 video preview above!