UFC 251: Usman vs Burns canceled as challenger positive for COVID-19

The headliner of UFC 251 on “Fight Island” suffered a blow.

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Kamaru Usman (16-1) no longer defends his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns (18-3) on July 11 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The latter tested positive for coronavirus and has been withdrawn.

The news was reported by MMA Junkie, citing multiple people close to the situation. Herbert Burns, brother and cornerman of Gilbert Burns, as well as his coach Greg Jones, also tested positive for COVID-19.

According to reports, Burns and his team did not board the plane flying to the UAE. Neither Usman.

The Usman vs. Burns fight is expected to be re-booked for a future event.

As a result, UFC 251, that was previously expected to feature a trio of title bouts, remains with a pair of championship matchups.

The current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski meets former 145-pound titleholder Max Holloway in the rematch. Peter Yan and Jose Aldo battle it out for a vacant bantamweight belt.

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