Just hours after it was announced that Gilbert Burns had tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced out of his main event battle against Kamaru Usman, another man’s name has been added to the mix. The BMF Champion Jorge Masvidal could potentially fill in and save the UFC 251 main event.
On Saturday morning Masvidal’s manager, Malki Kawa tweeted a cryptic message.
— malki kawa (@malkikawa) July 4, 2020
Later in the day, he posted a pair of photos of Masvidal undergoing a COVID-19 test.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani made it clear that negotiations were underway, however, not close to being finalized just yet.
There are active negotiations ongoing to book Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal as next week’s UFC 251 main event, sources say, and I’m told the sides believe there is a now a path to make it happen. Not done, but a promising development.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 5, 2020
Could Jorge Masvidal save the UFC 251 main event?
Usman (16-1) is undefeated in his UFC tenure. After winning nine fights in a row, the Nigerian-American was granted a title shot. At UFC 235, Usman earned a unanimous decision against Tyron Woodley and captured the 170-pound championship. He defended the gold with Fight of the Night honors against Colby Covington at UFC 245 in December 2019.
Masvidal (35-13) has not seen Octagon action since his BMF title win against Nate Diaz at UFC 244 in November of last year. The 35-year-old, back yard brawler is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, with two knockouts and a doctor’s stoppage. Prior to the BMF victory, Masvidal captured the fastest knockout in UFC history, with a 5-second flying knee finish against Ben Askren.
If the UFC and Masvidal can actually come to an agreement and save the UFC 251 main event, it would add to the Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2 featherweight championship and Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo bantamweight championship.
UFC 251 goes down on July 11 from Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.