Ringside news LIVE: Jorge Masvidal to become BIGGER than Conor McGregor with UFC 251 win, Jose Aldo does weigh-in NAKED – The Sun

UFC 251 takes place at Dana White's new-look Fight Island in the United Arab Emirates tonight.

Jorge Masvidal has been confirmed as Kamaru Usman's opponent after Gilbert Burns was dramatically pulled from the event for testing positive for coronavirus.

As well as a packed MMA schedule over the next seven days, we've got the very latest on Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder III and Mike Tyson's incredible potential return to the ring.

Follow all the latest fighting talk from the world of boxing and MMA below…

  • MAS > MAC

    Jorge Masvidal will become bigger than Conor McGregor if he beats Kamaru Usman at UFC 251, according to Dan Hardy.

    “I honestly think a win will make him the most powerful and most sought after fighter in the sport, above everybody,” Hardy said.

    “Masvidal is already on that cusp of overtaking Conor McGregor. I think McGregor has done damage to his own brand recently and a lot of the loyal fans who followed him in his early UFC days have somewhat gravitated away from him.

    “I also think in a lot of ways Masvidal is walking the same steps as McGregor did, but he’s far more genuine. He’s a real individual. He acts the same way away from the cameras as he does in front of them, I can tell you that from personal experience. He is who he is.

  • GOOD MORNING FIGHT FANS

    We are edging closer to UFC 251!

    Friday saw the weigh-ins with Kamaru Usman claiming that Jorge Masvidal will be his “biggest and baddest” opponent ever as they weighed in for Sunday's welterweight fight.

    Late call-up Masvidal covered himself in towels to make the weight after shedding 21lbs in six days make the 170lbs limit for their bout on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

    But “Nigerian Nightmare” Usman still expects Gilbert Burns' replacement Masvidal to give him the toughest night of his career.

    At the UFC 251 virtual media day he said: “He’s the best out of each and every one of [my opponents].

    “He’s the toughest guy in front of me, so I don’t take him lightly.”

    And Leon Edwards will have a close eye on the main event – sharing history with both men.

    Edwards told SunSport: “I think Masvidal's got a puncher's chance to win, and you have to respect that, but other than that I can't see how he wins.

    “I think Usman gets it done. He's the bigger, stronger man, he's been more active and he's more well rounded.”

    Brazilian star Jose Aldo was forced to whip his kit off to get down to the maximum permitted 61.2kg for his clash with Petr Yan for the UFC bantamweight title.

    Meanwhile, in the first fight on the main card, VanZant, 26, takes on Amanda Ribas in the flyweight division.

    And she tipped the scales at 9st just days after showing off her chiselled physique to her 2.5million Instagram followers.

  • PROUD NEPHEW

    Hamzah Sheeraz honoured his greatest fan with an emotional win against Paul Kean.

    The gigantic 6ft 3in super-welterweight fought for the first time since his beloved auntie Shabnum Sadiq tragically passed away from Covid-19.

    And after the win, Sheeraz 21, said: “I'd like to dedicate this win to my auntie who passed away of Covid-19.

    “Hopefully she's looking down on me and is proud.”

    Shabnum — his aunt and a mother of five — lost her life to Covid- 19 in April, leaving her family, including 13-year-old quadruplets, devastated.

    Sheeraz used gruelling training sessions to distract from the agony, but was comforted by knowing he has the rest of his career to honour her.

  • THE LO DOWN

    Vasyl Lomachenko has kicked off his training camp for his fight with Teofimo Lopez – with October 3 pencilled in for the unification fight.

    The pair were due to fight in April before the coronavirus pandemic wiped out boxing across the globe.

    But after promoter Bob Arum started staging events behind closed doors at the end of June, Lomachenko's manager Egis Klimas told ESPN the Ukrainian has officially begun preparing for his ring return.

    And the unified champion will have three months to prepare for Lopez.

    Arum told BoxingScene: “Loma-Lopez, we had scheduled it for September 19 as the working date but now it will probably go on pay-per-view and that means the working date now is October 3.”

  • G'LOVE STORY

    Mike Tyson has revealed how he used to sneak out at night to hide the fact he was meeting “nasty girls” from his wife and security guards.

    The heavyweight legend lived in fear that his security team would tell his other half about other women he was seeing on the side.

    Speaking on his Hotboxin Podcast, Tyson said: “I didn’t want no one to know what I was doing.

    “I might want to see one of my really nasty girls and I don’t want nobody to know who I'm with. You don’t want people to know what you’re doing.

    “Sometimes I would just sneak out of my house and take-off in the middle of the night.

    “You never know if your security are going to be cool, film you, have something on you in the past, they shouldn’t know, if you’re married at the time – doing dirt.”

  • THAT ALD TRICK

    Jose Aldo stripped naked to make weight for his UFC 251 title fight.

    Brazilian star Aldo, 33, was forced to whip his kit off to get down to the maximum permitted 61.2kg for his clash.

    Aldo takes on Petr Yan for the UFC bantamweight title, recently vacated by Henry Cejudo.

    But he clearly cut it a bit fine as he dropped his boxers to shave off those vital few grams.

    Aldo's modesty was protected by just a thin white towel, leaving onlookers in stitches.

  • EXCLUSIVE

    Leon Edwards will have a close eye on UFC 251's main event between Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman – sharing history with both men.

    But he expects welterweight champion Usman, the only man to beat him in the UFC, to retain his belt against late replacement Masvidal.

    Edwards told SunSport’s boxing supremo Jack Figg: “I think Masvidal's got a puncher's chance to win, and you have to respect that, but other than that I can't see how he wins.

    “I think Usman gets it done. He's the bigger, stronger man, he's been more active and he's more well rounded.”

  • JOR THE TOUGHEST

    Kamaru Usman claims Jorge Masvidal will be his “biggest and baddest” opponent ever as they weighed in for Sunday's UFC 251 showpiece.

    Late call-up Masvidal covered himself in towels to make the weight after shedding 21lbs in six days make the 170lbs limit for their bout on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

    At the UFC 251 virtual media day he said: “He’s the best out of each and every one of [my opponents].

    “He’s the toughest guy in front of me, so I don’t take him lightly.

    “I’m going out there with all my thoughts, the thought that he’s the best opponent that I have faced and I have to go out there and treat him accordingly.

    “The fact that Jorge had such an amazing year in 2019 puts him into that category to where he’s the next biggest challenge for me.”

  • WEIGH TO GO

    Jorge Masvidal covered himself in towels to drastically make the weight for his UFC title fight.

    The 35-year-old veteran, who enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2019, accepted a late notice offer to replace Gilbert Burns and UFC 251 and challenge welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

    Masvidal, who initially failed to agree terms for the fight earlier in the year, had revealed he weighed 191lb when accepting the headliner the second time around.

    Meaning he left himself six days to cut 20lb and make the welterweight limit.

    The experienced campaigner had to use every tool in the book to get the last few remaining pounds off.

    That included wrapping himself up in towels to sweat out any unwanted poundage.

  • TURN THE PAIGE

    Paige VanZant takes on Amanda Ribas in the flyweight division at UFC 251.

    And she tipped the scales at 9st just days after showing off her chiselled physique to her 2.5million Instagram followers.

    The US hotshot's post may just have pocketed her more money than her Ribas clash, though.

    Incredibly, VanZant, 26, recently revealed she earns MORE from Instagram than she does MMA.

    But UFC 251 – boasting THREE title fights – will likely draw a huge audience – with it being the first-ever “Fight Island” showdown, in the UAE.

  • ALL A BRIT TASTY

    Canelo Alvarez could fight a British boxer in September, his promoters have said.

    Boxing is coming back with a bang after the coronavirus pandemic put the action on hold.

    And there is already lots of talk about who four-weight world champ Canelo, 29, could face.

    Here, SunSport's fight expert John Hutchinson checks out five possible opponents if Golden Boy chooses to 'go British' in September.

  • TAYLOR MADE

  • A WOMAN'S RIGHT

    WWE are reportedly on the verge of confirming the highly-anticipated second Evolution pay-per-view.

    Vince McMahon’s company held the first-ever all-female PPV back in October 2018.

    The bash, headlined by Ronda Rousey successfully defending her Raw Women’s Title against Nikki Bella, was critically acclaimed.

    Now PWUnlimited claim WWE are looking into the prospect of producing a second Evolution as early as next month.

    And they are just not considering holding it as a one night event on August 30.

    Chiefs are also believed to be pondering the possibility of doing Evolution 2 as the second night of SummerSlam, which takes place on August 23.

  • MAS ISLAND

    Jorge Masvidal has vowed to destroy “mentally weak” Kamaru Usman and take the welterweight title at UFC 251.

    Gamebred stepped in on just six days’ notice to battle the champ on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi after GIlbert Burns was forced out after testing positive for coronavirus.

    Usman is undefeated in UFC – but Masvidal claimed the star is overhyped as he promised to prove that tomorrow when they finally clash inside the Octagon.

    Speaking in his Virtual Media Day interview, the 35-year-old BMF king said of his rival: “Nowhere near as good as advertised. And that’s why I’m here, I’m gonna prove it.

    “I think he’s mentally weak, and I can’t blame the guy either he’s got seventeen personalities they should have had him diagnosed and maybe each one of his personalities needs to be on Adderall or some type of substance so he doesn’t have so many personalities.

    “It’s just his mental weakness is going to come out on Saturday in an abundance, the worlds going to see it and I just took full advantage of this individual and his weak ass ways.”

  • NO MONEY, NO PROBLEM

    Mike Tyson told Jamie Foxx he was happy he was skint so “vultures” could not take anything from him anymore.

    Tyson is set to have a Hollywood movie biopic based on him with Oscar winner Foxx due to play the boxer.

    Foxx told Showtime’s ‘All the Smoke’: “When we were talking about the movie, I said what’s interesting about Mike is not the ring now, it’s the Mike that we see now.

    “When I called Mike one time, I said ‘Mike, how are you doing?’ – And it’s this voice ‘All praise to Allah, my brother I’m just happy’.

    “I said ‘why you happy?’ and ‘I’m happy I don’t have money anymore, I don’t have any money’. “I said ‘why do you say that? Why does that make you happy?’ 

    “‘Cause no one can take anything from me anymore. There are no vultures. Nobody out there trying to take anything from me. So I’m just happy.’”

  • CHRIS CROSS

    Andy Ruiz Jr is nearing a return to the ring with talks to fight Chris Arreola “looking very good”.

    The Mexican shocked the world a year ago with one of the biggest upsets in boxing history as he defeated Anthony Joshua to become heavyweight champ.

    Arreola told Sky Sports: “Yes, actually there's been a couple of talks [about Ruiz Jr fight], but I'm not at liberty of saying anything right now.

    “But they are looking fairly good. Looking very good. I'm actually very excited for that fight. I think that's the only fight that looks promising for myself.

    “If that fight doesn't come around, then you know, I'm okay with staying at home. But that's the only fight that's very enticing, not only to myself, also for the boxing fans.

    “I think the boxing fans will love a boxing fight with two Mexican heavyweights that are going at it.”

  • MIKE DROP

    EXCLUSIVE – Mike Tyson has been called out by Riddick Bowe – with the American boxing legend also back in training.

    Iron Mike, 54, has been putting in the hard graft to get back into the ring – either for an exhibition fight or a pro bout.

    Bowe, 52, told SunSport: “If the fans want to see me fight again, I’m fighting. I want to make fans happy.

    “Equally, I want to be remembered as one who did everything to truly make boxing great. I want to get out there. This is the perfect time, I believe, and I’m very excited to fight again.

    “It’s official. Actually, let me put it this way: I am officially back and want to and will fight. Come on Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield…”

  • MAS APPEAL

    Jorge Masivdal has the chance to upset the odds when facing Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.

    Betfair have the Nigerian down at a 4/11 bet for the victory in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    A points verdict going Usman's way is rated at 13/8 – with 50 per cent of his victories ending in this manner.

    Masvidal was not originally scheduled to take part in UFC 251 but has been parachuted in after Gilbert Burns' late drop-out due to coronavirus.

    It is therefore little surprise to see the 35-year-old back at 2/1 for this fight.

    Overall, Masvidal is 3/1 to win via KO or TKO and 12/1 to win on points.

    Despite both fighters' propensity for seeing through all five rounds, the fight is deemed more likely to end via KO or TKO, with odds of 8/11 compared to 5/4 for a points finish or a submission, at 9/1.

  • GOOD MORNING FIGHT FANS

    BEN ASKREN has seemingly taken credit for Jorge Masvidal's UFC success.

    The 35-year-old American was memorably beaten in just five seconds by Gamebred back in 2019 after he was KO'd by a flying knee.

    Former Bellator champion Askren had been tipped as the favourite heading into the title eliminator at UFC 239.

    But following the record-breaking knockout, he tapped out to Demian Maia in October before retiring from MMA a month later.

    In contrast, Masvidal followed up his record-breaking win by beating Nate Diaz to become the BMF champion.

    The 35-year-old now has the chance to become Welterweight king when he fights Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 this Saturday.

    Funky said: “I put the spotlight on him. His Twitter followers, his Instagram followers, it went five (times higher). I put the spotlight on him. I played the foil to him.

    “I let him shine, unfortunately, I thought I was going to crush him. He says some of these things like the ‘three-piece and a soda’ that maybe he isn’t intentionally funny, but again it’s really authentic and people love that.

    “When he said f***ing ‘super necessary,’ which I feel like he was kind of a douche for punching me when I was already unconscious – that was just unnecessary, but he says it was ‘super necessary.’”

    Meanwhile, we are within 48 hours of the opening bell on Fight Island.

    Stay right here for all the latest news from the Middle East ahead of the blockbuster night.

  • MAH-MAZING

    Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali has landed the role of boxer Jack Johnson.

    Ali will portray the first black heavyweight champ in a no-holds-barred biopic of his life.

    Johnson became the first African-American heavyweight champ in 1908 when he triumphed over Tommy Burns in Sydney.

    A six-part HBO series entitled “Unruly” will will tell the story of his amazing life, with Ali the star.

  • 'SHE CAN'T BREATHE'

    WWE star Lana asked fans for their prayers for her mother who is in intensive care after testing positive for coronavirus.

    Both of her parents have been struck down by Covid-19.

    The Ravishing Russian broke the news on social media last night.

    Lana – real name CJ Perry – revealed her mum is experiencing difficulty breathing.

    She tweeted: “Please keep my Mom in your thoughts and prayers.

    “She can’t breathe and is heading into the ER right now.”

  • QUEEN OF HARTS

    WWE star Natalya has sent her fans wild on Instagram.

    The Queen of Harts is the longest-serving active female star in Vince McMahon's company.

    She made her debut way back in 2008 and has racked up 1,360 matches since.

    She shared a number of sizzling snaps online for fans to enjoy.

  • LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

    UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to honour his late father's legacy by following him into coaching.

    Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov tragically died last week in a Moscow hospital following Covid-19 complications.

    He was 57 and had suffered a heart attack and pneumonia following a positive test.

    Khabib's kickboxing coach Javier Mendez suggested his charge would become a coach in the long-term.

    Mendez told SiriusXM: “I know one thing, (Khabib’s) carrying on with the legacy of his father and being a great coach himself.”

  • BEE'S KNEES

    One man has claimed they are behind the success of UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal.

    Ben Askren was stunningly KOd in just FIVE seconds by Masvidal courtesy of a flying knee in 2019.

    The 35-year-old American was initially favourite for the bout but has argued he enabled Masvidal to shine.

    He told Ariel Helwani of ESPN: “I put the spotlight on him. His Twitter followers, his Instagram followers, it went five (times higher). I put the spotlight on him. I played the foil to him.

    “I let him shine, unfortunately, I thought I was going to crush him. He says some of these things like the ‘three-piece and a soda’ that maybe he isn’t intentionally funny, but again it’s really authentic and people love that.”

  • ISLE OF FIGHT

    Catch a glimpse inside Dana White's Fight Island ahead of UFC 251.

    Kamaru Usman against Jorge Masvidal is the headline scrap.

    And journalist Guilherme Cruz posted these snaps of the Abu Dhabi arena on social media.

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