UFC 261 Preview: Three Title Fights and Plenty More
UFC 261 is here! Three title fights, a packed house, and hopefully Joe Rogan. This Saturday, April 24th, is one of the most anticipated cards of the year. Jorge Masvidal gets his rematch with Kamaru Usman, Zheng Weili defends her strawweight title against Rose Namajunas, and Valentina Shevchenko looks to maintain her title against Jéssica Andrade.
The entire card is stacked with exciting fights, starting with Anthony “Lion Heart” Smith taking on Jimmy Crute. Smith is coming off a submission win over Devin Clark, while Jimmy Crute looks to get his third straight win and climb the light heavyweight rankings.
Chris Weidman returns to the octagon with only two fights in the last two years when he faces Uriah Hall. Hall is coming off of a KO victory over UFC legend Anderson Silva. Both fighters are looking to make one last push in the middleweight division before they have to hang up the gloves.
Now to the title fights. Kicking it off is Valentina Shevchenko and Jéssica Andrade for the flyweight championship of the world. Shevchenko, widely regarded for her knockout power, is looking to retain her title and extend her six-fight win streak. On the other side, Jéssica Andrade is trying to win the title in just her second fight in the division. Expect a tremendous five-round fight between these two.
Zheng Weili and Rose Namajunas square off in the co-main event for the strawweight title. Weili most recently fought Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 248, a fight that won fight of the year in 2020 and has a real case for the greatest UFC fight of all time. Namajunas, or “Thug Rose”, as she is called, comes into 261 after a win over Jéssica Andrade at UFC 251 in July of last year. I expect nothing less than an all-out war in this co-main event, and I could see the fight going either way in the end.
Finally, it is time for the main event. The long-awaited rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal for the welterweight title. Garrett and I already talked about this fight in-depth in previous articles, but one thing to watch here is Masvidal’s conditioning. The last fight ended in a lopsided unanimous decision in favor of Usman, but Masvidal took the fight on six days’ notice. Gamebred (Jorge Masvidal) insists that with a full camp he can beat Usman. Honestly, I do not see this happening. The champion is too skilled and too strong for Masvidal.
UFC 261 has the potential to be one of the most exciting and violent cards of the year. You don’t want to miss any of the action on Saturday night!