REPORT: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal set pending test results

A tumultuous weekend that saw the UFC lose one of its title challengers for UFC 251 next weekend may end up with a replacement fight that is significantly larger than the original.

A tumultuous weekend that saw the UFC lose one of its title challengers for UFC 251 next weekend may end up with a replacement fight that is significantly larger than the original.

After news broke Friday night that welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns had tested positive for COVID-19, it appeared UFC 251 would be reliant on two existing championship fights, instead of the original plan for three.

Over the weekend, Jorge Masvidal emerged as a candidate to take the last-minute fight and challenge UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. That plan appears to be set barring any problems with COVID-19 testing in Las Vegas.

On Sunday afternoon, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that negotiations were done between Usman and Masvidal to fight next Saturday on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Helwani added that both will report to Las Vegas for COVID-19 testing and will quarantine until receiving the results. If they pass, they will be able to fly to Abu Dhabi and would undergo additional testing throughout the week.

If the two receive the green light to fight, it will restore UFC 251 with three championship fights joining Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway for the featherweight title and Jose Aldo vs. Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight title.

Burns was removed from the card after finding out he tested positive for the coronavirus while in Las Vegas, which is one of four worldwide host cities that UFC fighters must report to for testing prior to their arrival in Abu Dhabi. Burns’ cornerman and brother Herbert Burns, and coach Greg Jones also tested positive for the virus. On Sunday, Burns stated he was at home in quarantine.

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Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.