“BMF” champion Jorge Masvidal has agreed to replace Gilbert Burns and fight welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in UFC 251's main event, according to MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz and Damon Martin. ESPN's Ariel Helwani first reported that Masvidal was engaged in negotiations with UFC.
Burns was scratched from his title fight with Usman after he reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus.
Masvidal reportedly took and passed a coronavirus antibody test on Saturday. The test shows whether a person has previously been exposed to the virus, but does not determine whether that person currently has it. Masvidal will reportedly have to pass three COVID-19 tests in order to be allowed to partake in UFC 251.
Masvidal (35-13) last fought on Nov. 2 in a win over Nate Diaz at UFC 244. Meanwhile, Usman will be defending his belt for the second time after defeating Colby Covington at UFC 245. As for Burns, he most recently recorded a lopsided victory against former UFC champion Tyron Woodley in late May.
Beyond the Masvidal-Usman main event, UFC 251 will feature two other title fights: Alexander Volkanovski will try to defend his featherweight belt against Max Holloway, while Petr Yan and Jose Aldo will fight for the vacant bantamweight belt.
UFC 251 is set to take place on July 11 at the UFC Fight Island facility on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The site is set to hold four events, with the Masvidal-Usman bout to kick off the July slate in Abu Dhabi.