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Gilbert Burns Withdraws From UFC 251 Title Bout Due to COVID-19 Diagnosis, Holloway vs. Volkanovsky Set as New Headliner

July 4, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
UFC 251 Gilbert Burns

Gilbert Burns is now out of his previously scheduled UFC welterweight title fight with champion Kamaru Usman at next week’s UFC 251 event. Per ESPN, a source confirmed that Burns is off the card and unable to compete in the main event title bout at UFC 251.

According to MMAjunkie, Burns is out after testing positive for the coronavirus. A charter flight from Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi for the event was scheduled to leave late Friday. However, Usman nor Burns made it on the flight. Neither man was spotted at the airport where the flight was supposed to leave either.

Gilbert Burns later commented on the news on his Twitter account, writing, “Devastating news, not feeling well but I’m going to win this battle! Stay safe out there! Much love.”

Former welterweight title contender Colby Covington, who lost by a fifth round TKO to Usman at UFC 245 last December, campaigned for a rematch on Twitter as well. He wrote, “You know who they’re gonna call Marty and it ain’t the Ghostbusters Junior!” He later told ESPN, “My offer stands. Ball is in the UFC’s court. I’m here to save the day against Marty or Judas [Usman or Masvidal]. Feed me either one. I’m ready. Knew to be ready for this seven months ago.”

According to fighter manager Abraham Kawa, speaking on behalf of his client Jorge Masvidal, Masvidal is also said to be “absolutely willing” to face Usman on seven days’ notice. Meanwhile, ESPN sources state that Burns’ team is hoping that the matchup will be rescheduled for when Burns recovers.

The UFC has not yet confirmed Burns’ removal from the fight card. Alex Volkanvoski defending his UFC featherweight title against Max Holloway is expected to serve as the new main event for UFC 251. Currently, Jose Aldo vs. Petr Yan for the vacant bantamweight title is expected to take place in the co-main event slot.

UFC 251 is slated to take place at UFC Fight Island on July 11. The event will be held on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. The fight card will be broadcast live on pay-per-view via ESPN+. Prelims will be shown on ESPN, ESPN+, and UFC Fight Pass.

article topics :

Gilbert Burns, UFC 251, Jeffrey Harris