MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz reacted to the news of Jorge Masvidal replacing Gilbert Burns against Kamaru Usman in the main event of UFC 251.
Abdelaziz, one of MMA’s top managers, represents both Burns and Usman, so he had a vested interest in the fight. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and had to be pulled from the fight against Usman. Fortunately, the UFC was able to move quickly and come together to get a deal signed for Usman to fight Masvidal. The two are now set to headline the UFC’s debut card on Fight Island pending the test results of a coronavirus test for Masvidal in Las Vegas.
Taking to social media following the news that Masvidal replaced Burns against Usman, Abdelaziz gave his thoughts on the situation. Check out his Twitter below.
— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) July 5, 2020
I’m happy @USMAN84kg for a replacement opponent and I’m also heartbroken for @GilbertDurinho he still #1 contender
As Abdelaziz said, it’s terrific news that Usman was able to get a replacement opponent on very short notice, especially someone as credible as Masvidal. This was the original matchup the UFC planned on doing before Masvidal held out due to contractual issues. We don’t know if Masvidal got exactly what he wanted from the UFC, but given that he had all the leverage in this situation as the UFC wanted to save the card, it stands to make sense that Masvidal got a nice deal from the UFC to take on Usman at UFC 251.
As for Burns, like Abdelaziz said he’s still technically the No. 1 contender at 170lbs after defeating Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia in dominant fashion in his last two fights. Should Usman defeat Masvidal as the betting odds suggest he will do so, then Burns will remain as the No. 1 contender. Then again, if Masvidal pulls off the upset and gets by Usman, then Burns will likely drop to No. 2 in the division. Either way, Burns is still in a good spot in the UFC welterweight division going forward.
At this point, it’s all about Burns getting healthy and feeling better. The Brazilian is back home in Florida now in quarantine and although he said on Twitter on Sunday that he has a headache, hopefully, he is able to make a quick recovery. Knowing who his manager is, look for Ali Abdelaziz to try and get his client back in there as soon as he gets healthy.