UFC 251 generates more pay-per-view buys than any show since Conor McGregor v Khabib Nurmagomedov

Flagship show at Abu Dhabi's Fight Island generates huge global interest

UFC 251 reportedly generated around 1.3 million pay-per-view buys, making it the most successful card since Conor McGregor took on Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018.

Sunday's event, the opener to the inaugural Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, provided huge appeal, with three world title fights headlined by Kamaru Usman's welterweight defence against Jorge Masvidal.

The American, among the most popular stars in the UFC, took the bout six days out following Gilbert Burns’ withdrawal, which no doubt added to the event’s resonance.

First reported by The Athletic, UFC 251 was said to become the sixth event to reach 1.3m pay-per-view (PPV) buys, the most recent being UFC 229 in Las Vegas in October 2018. Built upon the high-profile feud between McGregor and Nurmagomedov, it holds the UFC record with 2.4m PPV buys.

At the UFC 251 pre-event weigh-in on Friday, Dana White confirmed a sizeable interest in the show, saying: “This thing is trending off the charts. This thing is trending higher than a Conor McGregor fight. The only thing this is comparable to is Conor-Khabib. It's trending as big a fight as I’ve ever seen in my entire career.”

The action, which began at 2am at Flash Forum with the main event starting at 6am, featured a number of intriguing match-ups. Rose Namajumas made her long-awaited comeback to win her rematch against Jessica Andrade, while Petr Yan defeated Jose Aldo to clinch the vacant bantamweight crown.

Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski then defended his title in his rematch against Max Holloway, prevailing by a controversial split decision. At the top of the card, Usman dominated an undercooked Masvidal to triumph by unanimous decision.

Three more events follows, on Thursday, Sunday and then July 26.