Fight Island, located in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, is hosting its first fight card on July 11. One week before the fights started, Welterweight Title Challenger, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew from the main event. It was then between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington to replace Burns and fight Champ Kamaru Usman on one week’s notice. The new main event will be between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal for the Welterweight belt.
Which fighter has the upper hand going into the fight?
Most people would think that it would be Kamaru Usman who had an entire fight camp, but I disagree. Since Masvidal won the BMF Belt, everyone knew he should be fighting for a title after the Usman-Covington fight. However, due to money issues with Masvidal, the fight fell through.
With that being said, I believe that Masvidal has been training and preparing for the Usman fight for about eight months. He also was probably ready incase something happened and he had to step into fight. The fighter has also said that he kept training in quarantine and although his cardio may not be 100% I think it can still be good enough to last 5 rounds and keep complete pressure for 3.
Usman, on the other hand, was preparing to fight Gilbert Burns, who has a very different style than Masvidal. Burns is a Jiu Jitsu black belt and a genius on the ground. Usman would be preparing to be able to stop burns Jiu Jitsu and hopefully be able to beat him on the feat. Masvidal is a brawler, he possesses a lot of power and can knock you out with his hands and knees, just ask Ben Askren. Usman may not have a complete gameplay to fight Masvidal while the fight is standing.
In past fights, Usman has fought fighters very similar to himself, amazing wrestlers who can strike very well. He used his ground game to defeat Tyron Woodley for the belt and exchanged strikes with Colby Covington for almost 25 minuets. Two fights ago for Masvidal he fought Ben Askren, one of the greatest wrestlers in MMA History. Although the fight was over in an instant, Masvidal still had to train to combat Askrens wrestling. I think the training for his Askren fights will help him keep the fight standing and give him the chance to put Usman away.
Photo: CBS Sports