The wait is finally over and this weekend we'll get to see the first UFC event held at the promotion's "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi. UFC 251 has a stacked card with three title fights and we have all the details on how you can watch the highly anticipated event online or on TV in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia.
At the beginning of the pandemic when other sporting organizations were cancelling events and ending their seasons early, UFC president Dana White remained committed to finding a new location to host UFC 249. However, he was forced to stand down by ESPN and Disney and it was then that he announced that he had secured a private island to stage fights during the pandemic.
Now three months later, the UFC will hold the first of four planned events at Fight Island which is located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. UFC 251 will actually be the second time the promotion heads to Yas Island as UFC 242 was also held there last September as part of a five-year partnership between the UFC and Abu Dhabi.
At the top of UFC 251's Main Card Kamaru Usman will take on Jorge Masvidal in a welterweight bout. Usman was originally scheduled to fight Gilbert Burns but unfortunately he tested positive for Covid-19 a week before the fight and was replaced by Masvidal at the last-minute.
Usman is currently ranked number one in the UFC's welterweight division with 7 wins by knockout and 8 wins by decision. He's currently on a 15 fight winning streak and in his last match in December, Usman knocked out Colby Ray Covington in round 5. Masvidal on the other hand is currently ranked third and is on a three win fight streak after knocking out Nate Diaz in round three back in November. Will Diaz be able to put an end to Usman's streak and show the world he was the perfect replacement for Burns?
Elsewhere on the card, Alexander Volkanovski will go up against Max Holloway in a featherweight title bout, Petr yan will face off against Jose Aldo in a bantamweight title bout, Jessica Andrade will take on Rose Namajunas in a women's strawweight bout and Amanda Ribas will meet Paige Vanzant in the octagon for a women's flyweight bout.
Whether you're rooting for Usman, Masvidal or just want to see if the UFC's Fight Island lives up to the hype, we'll show you exactly how you can watch UFC 251 from anywhere in the world.
UFC 251 - Where and when?
UFC 251 will be held at the promotion's new Fight Island facility on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates today, Saturday, July 12. The Early Prelims will kick off at 6pm ET / 3pm PT, the Prelims will follow after at 8pm ET / 5pm PT and the Main Card will start at 10pm ET / 7pm PT.
How to watch UFC 251 from anywhere
We have all the details on how you can watch UFC 251 in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia further down in this guide. However, if you're currently traveling or live in a country without an official broadcast option you won't be able to watch Usman vs Masvidal.
That's where a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can really come in handy. They allow you to virtually change the IP address of your laptop, tablet or mobile to one that's back in your home country which will let you watch as if you were back there.
VPNs are incredibly easy to use and have the added benefit of providing you with an additional layer of security when surfing the web. There are also a lot of options but we recommend ExpressVPN as our top pick due to its speed, security and ease of use. The service can even be used on a wide array of operating systems and devices (e.g. iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, Roku, game consoles, etc). Sign up for ExpressVPN now and enjoy a 49% discount and 3 months FREE with an annual subscription. You can even test it out for yourself thanks to the service's 30-day money back guarantee. Looking for more options?
Here are some other VPNs that are on sale right now.
How to watch UFC 251 in the U.S.
As the UFC has entered into an exclusive agreement with ESPN until 2025, ESPN+ is the only place where you'll be able to watch the UFC 251 PPV in the US. If you're already an ESPN+ subscriber, you can purchase access to the PPV for $65 and this price is for both monthly and annual subscribers. For those who haven't signed up for ESPN+ yet, ESPN is running a promotion where you can get the UFC 251 PPV and an annual subscription to its streaming service for just $84.98. While this may seem expensive at first, an annual ESPN+ subscription normally costs $50 on its own.
If you have a cable subscription, you'll be able to watch the Early Prelims at 6pm ET / 3pm PT as well as the Prelims at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on ESPN. However, you'll need ESPN+ to watch the main card at 10pm ET / 7pm PT.
Not interested in signing up for cable just to watch the Early Prelims and Prelims on ESPN. Don't worry as there are now a number of streaming services, all at different price points, which will give you access to the network so you watch everything up till the Main Card online. We've listed a few of our favorites below to make things easier for you.
- Hulu with Live TV - $54.99 per month - As well as giving you access to ESPN, the service also includes its own Hulu Originals and supports a wide variety of streaming devices.
- Sling TV - $30 per month - In order to get access to ESPN, you'll have to sign up for Sling TV's Sling Orange package. The service also lets you watch on three screens simultaneously and record live TV with its Cloud DVR.
- YouTube TV - $65 per month - YouTube TV gives you access to ESPN as well as over 70 other TV channels and a free 14-day trial available.
- AT&T TV Now - $65 per month - AT&T TV Now may be more expensive than the competition but in addition to ESPN you also get access to HBO with your plan. The service allows you to watch over 45 live TV channels and you can also record up to 20 hours of content using its cloud DVR.
SlingTV your best bet
Signing up for SlingTV is the easiest and most affordable way to catch the early prelims and prelims this weekend.
Live stream UFC 251 in Canada
MMA fans in Canada have plenty of options to watch this Saturday's UFC 251 PPV Bell, Rogers, Shaw, SaskTel, Videotron, Telus , Eastlink and UFC Fight Pass will all show the Main Card at 10pm ET / 7pm PT. The Prelims will begin two hours earlier at 8pm ET / 5pm PT and you can watch them on either TSN or RDS. You can watch the Early Prelims in Canada at 6pm ET / 3pm PT on either UFC Fight Pass or TSN.
If you have a cable subscription, then ordering the PPV from your cable provider might be the easiest way to watch it. However, if you've already cut the cord, then UFC Fight Pass makes a great deal of sense as it will give you access to both the Early Prelims and the Main Card.
How to watch UFC 251 in the UK
Just like with previous UFC events, UFC 251 will be available exclusively through BT Sport in the UK. If you're already a BT Sport subscriber, you'll be able to watch the Main Card for free beginning at 3am BST early Sunday morning. If this happens to be a bit too late for you don't worry as the network has a spoiler-free replay page so you can watch the Main Card at your convenience. You can also stream UFC 251 on mobile via the BT Sport app and on desktop on its website.
The Early Prelims will begin at 11:30pm BST and you can watch them on UFC Fight Pass while the Prelims will be shown on both UFC Fight Pass and BT Sport at 1am GMT.
Watch UFC 251 in Australia
In Australia, you can watch UFC 251's Main Card on Main Event ,Fetch TV and on UFC Fight Pass at 2pm AEST / 12pm AWST on Sunday, July 12. The PPV itself costs $54.95 but you will need a cable package with ESPN or a subscription to UFC Fight Pass to watch the Early Prelims at 10am AEST / 8am AWST and the Prelims at 12pm AEST / 10am AWST.
UFC 251 - The main card in full
- Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal
- Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway
- Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo
- Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas
- Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant
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