In the midst of the global pandemic, the UFC promoted a way to put on fights including fighters from all around the world, and respect safety guidelines. This secret location at the time turned out to be Yas Island in the UAE. The Fight Island project was set to start with UFC 251 on July 12 with Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns as the main event. Unfortunately, Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and the welterweight title fight was canceled.
The next bout on the card was the rematch between Max Holloway and the current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. Despite proposals from Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington to replace Burns on short Notice, the featherweight title bout has been designated to replace Usman vs Burns as the main event of UFC 251. The news was reported by John Morgan, the respected MMA journalist also got a reaction from Max Holloway.
Just spoke with new #UFC251 headliner Max Holloway ( @BlessedMMA ) to get his immediate reaction: “Nothing changes. I feel like we were already the main event.”
— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) July 4, 2020
The Hawaiian lost his title to Volkanovski at UFC 236 by the way of a unanimous decision. This loss was the second in a three fights span for Holloway who had previously lost to Dustin Poirier in an attempt to win the interim lightweight title.
The next fight on the card is Petr Yan vs Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight belt, this fight wll now be the co-main event of UFC 251.