UFC President Dana White has confirmed UFC 261, headlined with Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal II.
UFC 261 looks like it’s going to be the first ‘normal’ sporting event in what seems like forever – with a full capacity crowd and a stacked fight card.
The UFC has relocated their events numerous times over the past year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and UFC 261 will see the first event in Jacksonville, Florida.
Dana White announced everything about the event, including the fact that there will be a sell-out crowd of 15,000 fans in attendance, all there to watch some of the best UFC action of the year.
Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2
The fierce rivalry between Usman and Masvidal will be renewed as ‘Gamebred’ challenges ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ for the UFC welterweight title.
The rematch is a highly-anticipated bout, with fans excited about the upcoming title clash between two of the best welterweights around.
The First Meeting
In the midst of the pandemic, there were a lot of changes to UFC 251, where the first two met. If you weren’t aware, Masvidal was not supposed to be involved in the event.
Originally, Usman had challenger Gilbert Burns lined up to defend his welterweight championship. The Brazilian had to pull out nine days before the fight, due to a positive covid test within his training camp.
With only nine days to prepare, Masvidal stepped into the Octagon as Burns’ replacement. However, with such a quick turnaround, any result other than an Usman victory would have been a shock to fans all over the world.
Masvidal took the welterweight champion the distance, but lost via unanimous decision as Usman retained his title successfully.
Co-main Event: Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas
As part of the three UFC belts on the line on April 24, women’s strawweight champion Weili Zhang will attempt to defend her title against Lithuanian-American Rose Namajunas.
After winning the strawweight title at UFC Fight Night 157 back in August 2019, Weili Zhang has cemented her champion status, but faces arguably her toughest challenge yet when she steps in the ring with Namajunas.
Rose ‘Thug’ Namajunas last fought at UFC 251, beating Jessica Andrade at Fight Island via split decision. Now, she turns her attention to the strawweight title, and Weili Zhang who stands in the way of her reclaiming the strawweight belt.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade
The first title to be on the line as part of the three championship fights will be the women’s flyweight title.
Current champion Shevchenko first won the UFC flyweight belt at UFC 231 in December 2018. Since, Shevchenko has successfully defended her championship four times in the Octagon.
Meanwhile, Brazilian UFC fighter Jessica Andrade is former strawweight champion (who lost her belt to Weili Zhang) and has since transitioned up to the women’s flyweight division.
Andrade is the only UFC women’s fighter in UFC history to win in three different weight divisions, and will look to overcome the odds to beat the current flyweight champion.
The Full Fight Card
UFC 261’s prelim bouts are yet to be announced, but if the main card fights are anything to go by, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that this is one event you’re not going to want to miss.
A Full Crowd!
Dana White announced: “This is a stacked card in front of 15,000 UFC fans. Tickets go on sale very soon. Ladies and gentlemen - we are back!”.
With the relocation to Jacksonville, Florida in place, UFC 261 is set to be the first sporting event with a full capacity crowd for the first time since the global pandemic outbreak. Pre-sale tickets for fans will go on sale on March 24, and involves a first come, first served process.
Florida has relaxed many coronavirus restrictions and safety measures as the rate of infection of coronavirus has fallen drastically.
UFC 261 takes place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on April 24.
Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived - UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil - and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey - a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.