There is a special thrill and anticipation that surrounds mixed martial arts. It is so much more than just a fight– it is two elite athletes squaring off in a cage to test their skills against one another. Who will be able execute their gameplan? Which fighter will impose his or her will onto the other? Who can make split-second, in-fight adjustments and decisions?
Mixed martial arts in it’s purest form is entertianment. There has always been an interest and allure about fighting– think: Roman gladiators facing off in a collesauam in 80 A.D. (History).
Now, a globally recognized sport, the modern gladiators of MMA are just as exciting. As if it couldn’t get even more exciting, there is something else that makes MMA even more special and personal to us now– and that’s the storylines and arcs that are distinct to each fight and fighter.
These are the storylines of UFC 251.
Vanessa Melo: A full fight camp
Melo made her UFC debut in 2019, replacing Marion Reneau against Irene Aldana on short notice. Her next fight was also a short notice opportunity– replacing Duda Santana against Tracy Cortez. Now with a full fight camp, the Brazilian is ready to show her full potential. Though there was a big miss on the scales, coming in five pounds over the bantamweight limit, Melo still has a chance to make her trip to Fight Island a memorable one. Can Melo score her first UFC win?
Karol Rosa: Four cancellations later…
Brazil’s Rosa made a successful promotional debut in 2019 when she defeated Lara Procopio by split-decision. She has been scheduled to return to the Octagon four times against Julia Avila and all four times the bout has been cancelled due to different reasons. With a new opponent, Rosa has the chance to put together a UFC win streak– and all it takes is a couple of wins in the bantamweight division to find yourself fighting up the rankings. Will Rosa extend her win streak?
Paige VanZant: Ready to prove her worth
There is a lot on the line in this fight for PVZ. Not only is this her first fight since January 2019 following. an injury hiatus, this is the last fight on her UFC contract. “12 Gauge” has been vocal about wanting a brand new contract– noting that despite all she has down outside of the UFC to grow her name and brand, she is still on the same contract since 2016. PVZ is confident and she’s betting on herself in this one– choosing to fight out the last fight of her contract and prove her worth before testing into free agency. Will PVZ prove her worth?
Amanda Ribas: A golden opportunity
Amanda Ribas is one of the most exciting prospects in the sport– she has all of the qualities of a star and the potential to become a champ. Ribas has risen to every challenge in the UFC so far– dispatching of Emily Whitmire, Mackenzie Dern and Randa Markos all in a dominant fashion. Now she gets her biggest name opponent to date– and she’ll get it on the pay-per-view portion of one of the most anticipated cards in history. Can Amanda seize another opportunity?
Rose Namajunas: The rematch that had to happen
Prior to losing the strawweight title to Andrade by a devastating slam KO at UFC 237, “Thug” Rose was putting on one of the best performances of her career. Now, a little over one year removed from their first encounter, Namajunas is ready to right the wrong and avenge her loss. She has taken the time to hone her skills and get to a healthy place mentally, physically and emotionally. This is one of the most anticipated rematches in WMMA. Will Rose bounce back?
Jessica Andrade: Not a fluke
Andrade’s title reign came to an abrupt end when she ran into current champ Weili Zhang in August of 2019. The Brazilian powerhouse is ready to prove that her title winning slam of Rose was no accident and a win here will thrust her immediately back into the mix. Throughout her career, Andrade has never suffered two consecutive losses– having always bounced back from a loss with a win streak. Will she be able to do the same here?