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Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal UFC 251 Main Event Odds and Picks

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Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal UFC 251 Main Event Odds and Picks
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a jam-packed schedule and this weekend we are getting what should be an entertaining title fight between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.

Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal

Saturday, July 11, 2020 – 11:59 PM EDT

Opening line: Kamaru Usman -265 at 5Dimes

In the main event of the evening, Kamaru Usman defends his UFC welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal. UFC 251 takes place at the UFC Fight Island on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. There will not be fans in attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masvidal took the fight on six days’ notice. He is replacing Gilbert Burns, who tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

The UFC hadn’t been successful in negotiating a deal with Masvidal over the past few months. This agreement makes one of the biggest fights possible a reality.

With plenty of betting lines and markets currently available, let’s attempt to find some value for our UFC picks in this weekend’s main event.

Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal had to be separated by teammates and attending staff in a heated verbal confrontation during some UFC-led Super Bowl promotional junkets in Miami in January. Rumors of a potential fight between them started that day.

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani tweeted his take on Masvidal’s first title shot in the UFC.

“Not ideal to take your first UFC title fight on a week’s notice, but when you consider Jorge Masvidal’s biggest backyard fighting win came after he took a call as a 19-year-old waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru offering him to fight a Kimbo protégé that day, it feels poetic.”

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

Kamaru Usman

Introduction, Background & UFC Career

Kamaru Usman was born in Auchi Nigeria and his family moved to the United States when he was five years old. He started wrestling at Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas and was a three-time NCAA All-American and the NCAA Division II National Champion in 2010.

“The Nigeran Nightmare” made his professional MMA debut in 2012 and won The Ultimate Fighter 21, submitting Hayder Hassan in the second round on July 12th, 2015.

Usman is a physical force that has dominated everyone he’s faced. He won his first nine fights in the UFC before beating Tyron Woodley for the UFC welterweight title via unanimous decision at UFC 235 on March 2nd, 2019.

Usman’s current 11-fight win streak saw him go from an unknown to one of the most dominant champions in the promotion. Usman has not lost many rounds in his career but his rise wasn’t easy. This is a special fighter that has wins against Sean Strickland, Sergio Moraes, Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley and most recently Colby Covington, to name a few.

Born: May 11th, 1987

Age: 33

Country: United States

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 155 lbs

Reach: 76″

Stance: Switch

Association: Hard Knocks 365

Class: Welterweight

Record: 16-1

Stats

Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
7 wins by KO/TKO4.60 Landed50% Accuracy
1 win by Submission2.17 Absorbed100% Defended
8 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Physical strength
  • Dangerous striker
  • Excellent wrestler
  • Solid takedown defense

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Tends to rush things, may eat extra counter shots

Jorge Masvidal of the United States. Steven Ryan/Getty Images/AFP

Jorge Masvidal

Introduction, Background & UFC Career

Jorge Masvidal was born in Miami, Florida. His father is Cuban and his mother is Peruvian. Masvidal grew up in Miami and was involved in street fighting from a young age. You can find videos of his fights on YouTube, including his win against “Ray” (Kimbo Slice’s protégé).

He became a professional in 2003, winning his kickboxing debut at a Fast a Fearless event in April of that year. Masvidal beat Joseph Benjamin by majority decision in his only boxing fight on June 28th, 2005 at Radisson Mart Plaza Hotel in Miami. He has also competed for World Victory Road, Bellator, Shark Fights and Strikeforce.

Only Alistair Overeem has more career fights (56) than Jorge Masvidal (48) before receiving their first UFC title shot. He has paid his dues.

Masvidal is coming off a TKO (doctor stoppage) before the fourth round win against Nate Diaz at UFC 244 on November 2nd. The “baddest motherf—ker in the game” has KO/TKO wins against Darren Till, Ben Askren and Diaz in his last three fights.

According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, last Monday marked exactly one year to the date that Jorge Masvidal knocked out Ben Askren in record-breaking fashion, which changed his life forever. All went to plan and exactly one year later he departed for Abu Dhabi to compete in his first UFC title fight five days later. Not before stopping in Italy for some pizza.

Born: November 12th, 1984

Age: 35

Country: United States

Height: 5’11″

Weight: 170 lbs

Reach: 74″

Stance: Orthodox

Association: American Top Team

Class: Welterweight

Record: 35-13

Stats

Method of VictorySignificant StrikesTakedowns
16 wins by KO/TKO4.33 Landed59% Accuracy
2 wins by Submission2.94 Absorbed78% Defended
17 wins by Decision

Octagon Strengths

  • Battle-tested
  • Smart defense
  • Tricky offense
  • Underrated clinch technician
  • Excellent grappler

Octagon Weaknesses

  • Has had off nights and a sparring mentality

Prediction

Like Usman, Masvidal is also a special fighter, which makes this main event so compelling.

Masvidal can set up combinations with his jab, which is one of the best in the UFC and he’s very tough. He’s been stopped just once in his 48-fight career (in 2008 against Rodrigo Damm in a Sengoku event in Japan) and it was a questionable call.

Usman has it all: athleticism, power, strength, cardio and pressuring ability. Masvidal had one of the best calendar years in UFC history and he deserves this opportunity but it is hard to see anyone beating Usman right now.

UFC Pick: Usman-Masvidal goes 5 round distance +120 at 5Dimes