Now they have bad blood.
Saturday’s UFC 251 was supposed to feature a welterweight title fight between Gilbert Burns and Kamara Usman in the main event. But Burns was removed from the card after testing positive for COVID. And his replacement is Jorge Masvidal, a fighter that has history with Usman.
According to a Bleacher Report article, Usman and Masvidal got into an altercation on Radio Row at the Super Bowl and had to be restrained from fighting right there. Usman challenged him to “Do something!” Masvidal has called him a coward.
There’s so much bad blood that Saturday’s new main event is being called “Fight Island” (Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) could be better than the original.
“…I’m gonna baptize him, man, for the world to see,” Masvidal told ESPN. “It’s gonna be violent.”
The Masvidal-Usman main event should generate substantial interest and betting in UFC 251 Saturday night. Preliminary fights will begin at 6 p.m. on ESPN+ with the main card moving to ESPN Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m.
In this week’s installment of Penn Sportsbooks’ Pick Play, we’ll get you ready for the entire 13-fight card with a rundown of all the odds and available wagers at the best sportsbooks in PA.
Masvidal enters UFC 251 as an underdog on six-days notice
Jorge Masvidal enters the main event as a sizable underdog (+200 at BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse), likely because he accepted the Usman fight on just six days notice. Masvidal defeated Nate Diaz via TKO at UFC 244 in November and has reportedly been training consistently ever since. However, he admitted in the ESPN article he would need to cut almost 20 pounds to make weight in the final days before the fight.
Usman is -250 on the moneyline heading into Saturday’s fight at BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, and DraftKings Sportsbook. He has won 15 fights in a row, including a fifth-round TKO of Colby Covington in December.
As always, there are a number of betting options beyond the moneyline. Players can wager on a fight’s total rounds, the method of victory, whether or not the fight will go the distance and more. Betting odds also vary at FOX Bet and FanDuel Sportsbook, so players would be wise to compare pricing.
Volkanovski is the betting favorite in the featherweight title match
UFC 251 is loaded with three title fights on the card. In the Featherweight bout, Alexander Volkanovski is looking to retain his title against Max Holloway. As noted by CBS Sports, Volkanovski beat Holloway last December in a closely-contested decision. In this fight, Volkanovski enters at -230 at BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse and DraftKings PA. Holloway is +185.
In the Bantamweight title match, Jose Aldo (28-6) will look to rebound from two straight losses in his fight with Petr Yan. Yan (14-1) has won nine straight fights and enters this one -250 at BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse and DraftKings. Aldo is +200 at BetRivers and +190 at FOX Bet, where there are several options for wagers with boosted odds.
The remaining fights on Saturday’s card and their moneyline odds at BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse are as follows:
- Jessica Andrade (+180) vs. Rose Namajunas (-225)
- Amanda Ribas (-835) vs. Paige VanZant (+525)
- Volkan Oezdemir (-177) vs. Jiri Prochazka (+140)
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (+108) vs. Muslim Salikhov (-134)
- Makwan Amirkhani (-215) vs. Danny Henry (+170)
- Leonardo Santos (-190) vs. Roman Bogatov (+150)
- Marcin Tybura (-112) vs. Alexander Romanov (-112)
- Raulian Paiva (-180) vs. Zhaglas Zhumagulov (+142)
- Karol Rosa (-240) vs. Vanessa Melo (+185)
- Martin Day (-177) vs. Davey Grant (+141)
As with the title bouts, there are multiple wagers available on many of the preliminary fights as well, giving bettors plenty of options.
FanDuel Sportsbook exclusive offer for new sign-ups
If you have yet to sign up for an account at FanDuel Sportsbook PA, there is a unique offer to sweeten the deal. New customers who sign up and make a first deposit will have access to a 25/1 odds for any fighter to win their championship bout, up to $5 max bet.
The offer is available in-app only, and will show up on the app homepage once a new user makes a deposit.
DraftKings offering massive Island Millionaire contest
Daily fantasy players will also have numerous options for UFC 251. DraftKings is hosting a $25 entry Island Millionaire with a $2.5 million prize pool. First place pays out $1 million, while second place earns $100,000 and third receives $50,000.
At FanDuel, one of the featured contests is an $8.88 entry that pays out $50,000 to first, $20,000 to second and $12,000 to third.
Will UFC 251 live up to the hype?
Some fans are calling Saturday’s UFC fight card the best one of the year. There are 13 fights. And three of them are title bouts.
Fight Island should be filled with plenty of action. And maybe the main event will bring the most.
A little bad blood could be good for fans.