“Fight Island” just received its biggest blow as welterweight contender Gilbert Burns has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of his title fight against champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 on July 11, 2020, from Ya Island in Abu Dhabi, per a report by MMA Junkie.
Fight cancelations have been pouring in as UFC begins its ascension into “Fight Island” so fans were understandably nervous something may happen to the bigger matchups. Unfortunately, Burns has joined the growing group of fighters prohibited to fly to “Fight Island,” as the surging welterweight tested positive for coronavirus along with his brother, Herbert Burns, and coach, Greg Jones.
As of now, there is no news of a potential replacement for Burns, making it likely that UFC could slot Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2 into the main event.
Burns, 33, has come on strong over the past year by defeating the likes of former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Brazilian legend Demian Maia. “Durinho” was hoping to parlay his new found success into a UFC title when other contenders decided to sit out for more pay. Burns will have to wait a little longer to get his shot.
As for Usman, this leaves him without an opponent just one week away from his second title defense. If UFC is able to conjure up one of many potential fighters to step up on short notice it is unknown if the champ will even accept the fight. According to the report, Usman didn’t even board the charted flight from Vegas.
Stick with Mania for more UFC 251 and “Fight Island” news.