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Kamaru Usman opens as favorite in potential UFC 251 matchup with Jorge Masvidal

Kamaru Usman
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The oddsmakers like Kamaru Usman’s chances if he ends up competing on “Fight Island.”

With Jorge Masvidal reportedly in talks to replace Gilbert Burns opposite Usman at UFC 251 next Saturday following Burns’ positive test for COVID-19 and subsequent withdrawal, gambling website has laid out opening odds for an Usman-Masvidal welterweight championship bout.

Usman opened as a considerable favorite at -255 (over a 2-to-1 favorite), while Masvidal is listed as an underdog at +215 (the lines have since fluctuated). Those lines could be based on a number of factors, including Usman’s unblemished UFC record, Masvidal taking the fight on short notice, and the stylistic matchup.

This will be Usman’s second defense of the UFC welterweight title. He defeated Colby Covington by fifth-round TKO at UFC 245 in December, which improved his UFC record to 11-0. He also holds notable wins over Tyron Woodley, Rafael dos Anjos, and Demian Maia.

Masvidal, a 17-year veteran, emerged as a welterweight contender off of the strength of three spectacular wins in 2019 over Nate Diaz, Ben Askren, and Darren Till. It took him all of five seconds to knock out Askren with a flying knee and earn the fastest KO in UFC history.

After winning the “BMF” belt by defeating Diaz at UFC 244, Masvidal became a leading candidate to challenge Usman. However, in recent months, “Gamebred” has expressed his dissatisfaction with the compensation that the UFC offered for a title fight with Usman and stated he would not take the opportunity unless the money is right.

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