- Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal headline a stacked three-title fight card
- UFC returns to Jacksonville, Florida for a full capacity crowd on Saturday
- See the odds, picks, and betting preview for the full UFC 261 main card, below
The UFC is back in front of fans as the promotion heads to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida for a full capacity crowd for UFC 261, which goes down on Saturday, April 24th, 2021. In the main event, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman looks to defend his belt for the fourth time when he rematches Jorge Masvidal. Usman is listed as the favorite in the UFC 261 odds.
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The co-main event sees strawweight champ Weili Zhang defend her strap against Rose Namajunas. Moreover, flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko also looks to defend her belt against former strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade.
UFC 261 airs live on pay-per-view at 10 PM EST. The table below shows odds for the main card at DraftKings followed by best bets.
UFC 261 Odds
|Fighter||Odds at DraftKings|
All odds as of April 19
Will Masvidal Exact His Revenge at UFC 261?
Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal fought back at UFC 251 in July of 2020 on Fight Island in a fight that Masvidal took on six day’s notice. After the fight, both men made it clear they would run it back down the line as Usman wasn’t happy he didn’t finish him, “Gamebred,” meanwhile, knows he can beat Usman with a full camp.
Usman & Masvidal Recent Fights
|Gilbert Burns, win by TKO (title fight)||Fight 1||Kamaru Usman, loss by decision (title fight)|
|Jorge Masvidal, win by decision (title fight)||Fight 2||Nate Diaz, win by TKO (BMF title fight)|
|Colby Covington, win by TKO (title fight)||Fight 3||Ben Askren, win by KO|
|Tyron Woodley, win by decision (title fight)||Fight 4||Darren Till, win by KO|
In the first fight, the game plan was clear for both men. Kamaru Usman was going to lean heavily on his wrestling and clinch work to wear out Masvidal. Gamebred, however, was looking to get the early finish, but ultimately his cardio was not there for five rounds.
Ahead of this fight, Masvidal should have the cardio to go five rounds, but the big question is, will he be able to stuff the takedowns and reverse the clinch to keep it standing. If he can’t, it will be a long night for Gamebred.
Usman & Masvidal Stats
Although Masvidal has a full camp, I don’t see a way he wins this fight, other than catching Usman, but the champ has shown off a good chin. I expect Usman to come out and stand with Masvidal for the first few minutes to show off his much-improved striking. After that, he will likely revert to his wrestling as that is the easiest path to victory. -400 might be a daunting line, but there are other ways to get value on Usman in the UFC 261 odds.
If the fight gets out of the first round, Masvidal’s chances of winning go down a ton. Ultimately, Usman will be able to wrestle him and dictate where this fight goes and win another decision. I don’t expect Usman to get the finish as Masvidal is super durable.
Pick: Kamaru Usman (-400)
Will Rose Namajunas Reclaim Her Belt?
Weili Zhang is set for her second title defense since her 2020 Fight of the Year against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March of 2020. Rose Namajunas, meanwhile, is looking to reclaim the belt she held from 2017-2019.
Zhang & Namajunas Recent Fights
|Joanna Jedrzejczyk, win by split decision (title fight)||Fight 1||Jessica Andrade, win by split decision|
|Jessica Andrade, win by TKO (title fight)||Fight 2||Jessica Andrade, loss by KO (title fight)|
|Tecia Torres, win by decision||Fight 3||Joanna Jedrzejczyk, win by decision (title fight)|
|Jessica Aguilar, win by submission||Fight 4||Joanna Jedrzejczyk, win by TKO (title fight)|
This is a phenomenal matchup as Rose Namajunas is the more technical striker, but Weili Zhang has legit fight-ending power where, she can land one shot and end the fight.
Early on in the fight, I do expect Namajunas to have success and use her jab to score some points against Zhang. Yet, as the fight plays out, Zhang will be able to come on strong in the later rounds. Against Andrade in Namajunas’ last fight, she began to gas out in the third, and if that happens against the champ, she will lose by TKO.
Regardless, Weili Zhang should be able to win on points if she doesn’t get the finish but I do expect her to get the TKO win.
Pick: Weili Zhang (-195)
Other UFC 261 Picks:
- Valentina Shevchenko (-400): Shevchenko is the better striker and grappler and will likely earn a TKO finish in the middle rounds of the fight to defend her belt.
- Uriah Hall (-115): Hall should be able to keep the fight standing and find the knockout punch against Weidman for a massive win.
- Jimmy Crute (-200): Crute is the better striker and will pick apart Smith for three rounds to earn a decision.