UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal odds, predictions: MMA insider reveals surprising fight card picks


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Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal Will Officially Headline UFC 251
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The third time apparently was the charm for Jorge Masvidal. After reportedly turning down two offers to fight for the UFC welterweight championship, Masvidal accepted after Gilbert Burns was forced out of Saturday’s UFC 251 main event. With Burns removed due to a positive COVID-19 test, Masvidal will challenge Kamaru Usman for the title in the first event at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. The main UFC 251 fight card is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET. Masvidal is looking to record his fourth straight victory while handing Usman his first loss since May 24, 2013.

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Usman made his first defense of the welterweight belt in December against Colby Covington. Usman is a -300 favorite at William Hill (risk $300 to win $100), while Masvidal is a +240 underdog (risk $100 to win $240). In the co-main event, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is a -220 favorite (risk $220 to win $100) against challenger Max Holloway (+180). Before locking in your UFC 251 picks, make sure to see the UFC predictions from SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley

The accomplished MMA analyst has been on fire, as he has hit 12 consecutive main event winners. Last week, he told SportsLine members to expect Dustin Poirier (-200) to post a victory over Dan Hooker (+175) in their UFC Fight Night lightweight main event. Marley said Poirier would win at least a 48-47 decision if the fight went to the scorecards. That’s exactly what happened, as two judges had that exact score while the third gave Poirier a 48-46 advantage en route to a unanimous decision. 

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Marley also called a decisive victory two weeks ago for Curtis Blaydes (-400) against Alexander Volkov (+320) in their heavyweight main event. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley’s UFC picks is way up. 

Now, with UFC 251 approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC 251 odds and released his picks for every fight. Those UFC 251 picks only are available here.

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Usman vs. Masvidal preview

Usman enters this matchup with a 15-fight winning streak after successfully defending his title with a technical-knockout victory over Colby Covington at UFC 245 on Dec. 14. With that win, the 33-year-old Nigerian improved his UFC record to 11-0 and his overall career mark to 16-1. 

The win over Covington marked the first time in five fights and second in 10 that Usman did not have to go the distance in order to get his hand raised. A former NCAA Division II national wrestling champion at 174 pounds, he averages 16 minutes, 40 seconds per fight, which ranks second in UFC welterweight history and seventh overall in the promotion’s existence.

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The third-ranked Masvidal (35-13) reportedly was offered a shot at Usman’s belt when the UFC 251 card was being put together but was not pleased with the proposed payout and declined. The 35-year-old, who is a former Absolute Fighting Championships welterweight titleholder, posted a TKO victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 244 last November, four months after finishing Ben Askren with a flying knee five seconds into their fight at UFC 239 for the fastest knockout in UFC history. You can see Marley’s full Usman vs. Masvidal picks here.

Top UFC 251 predictions for July 11

We’ll share one of Marley’s UFC 251 predictions here: He is backing Amanda Ribas (-800) to beat Paige VanZant (+550) in a women’s flyweight bout. 

Ribas (9-1), who is ranked 14th in the strawweight division, will make her debut at flyweight as she attempts to extend her winning streak to five fights. The 26-year-old Brazilian has registered three victories by knockout, three by submission and a trio via decision, including her last two bouts. 

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The 26-year-old VanZant (8-4) hasn’t fought since defeating Rachael Ostovich via armbar on January 19, 2019, as she fractured her right arm twice after the match. That fight followed a pair of losses, including one against Jessica Rose-Clark in which she initially broke her arm while attempting a spinning back punch. 

“Ribas should control every minute of this fight and either get a finish or a clear 30-27 at worst,” Marley told SportsLine.

How to make UFC 251 picks

Marley also has strong picks for Usman vs. Masvidal and every other bout on the UFC 251 card. He’s also backing one combatant who is “the more powerful guy.” You can see those UFC 251 picks only at SportsLine. 

Who wins Masvidal vs. Usman at UFC 251? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on Saturday’s UFC 251 card, all from the accomplished expert who’s up nearly $21,000 and has nailed 12 straight main events, and find out.

UFC 251 odds (via William Hill US)

Kamaru Usman (-300) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+240)
Alexander Volkanovski (-220) vs. Max Holloway (+180)
Petr Yan (-230) vs. Jose Aldo (+190)
Jessica Andrade (+165) vs. Rose Namajunas (-195)
Amanda Ribas (-800) vs. Paige VanZant (+550)
Volkan Oezdemir (-165) vs. Jiri Prochazka (+140)
Elizeu Dos Santos (-105) vs. Muslim Salikhov (-115)
Makwan Amirkhani (-195) vs. Danny Henry (+165)
Leonardo Santos (-190) vs. Roman Bogatov (+160)
Marcin Tybura (-110) vs. Alexandr Romanov (-110)
Raulian Paiva (-195) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (+165)
Karol Rosa (-220) vs. Vanessa Melo (+180)
Martin Day (-190) vs. Davey Grant (+160)

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