UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2 takes place on Saturday with the early prelims kicking the event off at 6:00 p.m. ET, before the pay-per-view main card begins at 10 p.m. ET. Usman and Masvidal should enter the Octagon at around 12:15 a.m. ET, depending on the length of the undercard bouts.
Can 36-year-old US MMA star Jorge Masvidal snatch the welterweight crown from undefeated champ Kamaru Usman? We’ll find out when the pair stage a rematch of their UFC 251 encounter on Fight Island that saw the Nigerian Nightmare earn a unanimous points victory to keep his belt.
“I’m just so far ahead of these guys that I’m coming back around and I’m lapping them now,” a confident Usman told reporters at this week’s weigh-in. “But after this one, we have to take a really hard look and see what there is out there for me because it’s not these guys. So whether it’s crossing over and doing something else or maybe walking away, you never know.”
Meanwhile, Masvidal is convinced he can outclass his opponent this time around: “When I win the rematch, we definitely will go for the trilogy,” Masvidal told ESPN. ‘I will not go down in history 1-1 with this individual. It’s just not going to happen… all my energy is focused on breaking Usman’s face.” Yep, there’s definitely some bad blood between these two.
A stellar undercard will set the scene for Usman vs Masvidal 2. Valentina Shevchenko will attempt a record fifth defence of her flyweight world title against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade, while China’s Zhang Weili makes her first octagon appearance in a year when she faces Rose Namajunas. You can buy tickets here.
The main card begins at 3am BST. Anyone in the UK with a BT Sport subscription can watch all of action for free including the main card. Otherwise, here’s how to find a UFC 261 free live stream from anywhere in the world.
The Octagon returns to Jacksonville for tonight’s UFC 261: ‘Usman vs. Masvidal 2’ event, a thirteen-bout fight card that features three title fights.
Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal originally met last July at UFC 251, where ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ won a clear-cut decision, but ‘Gamebred’ took the fight on six days notice.
Since then, Usman (18-1 MMA) has gone on to defend his title on one occasion, scoring a third round TKO victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258.
Meanwhile, Jorge Masvidal (35-14 MMA) will be returning to the Octagon at UFC 261 for the first time since that aforementioned loss to Kamaru Usman. Prior to the setback, ‘Gamebred’ had earned three stoppage wins in a row, including a TKO victory over Nate Diaz which earned him the promotions BMF title.
Tonight’s event is co-headlined by a women’s strawweight title fight featuring reigning champion Weili Zhang taking on former title holder Rose Namajunas.
Zhang (21-1 MMA) will be returning to the Octagon for the first time since her thrilling split-decision victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248, which served as her first career title defense. The Chinese standout had captured the promotions 115-pound title with a first round TKO victory over Jessica Andrade in August of 2019.
Meanwhile, Rose Namajunas (9-4 MMA) will enter tonight’s UFC 261 event with hopes of reclaiming the title she once held. ‘Thug Rose’ most recently competed at UFC 251 in July of 2020, where she earned revenge against Jessica Andrade by way of a split-decision victory.
Tonight’s pay-per-view event also features a third title fight as Valentina Shevchenko puts her UFC flyweight title on the line against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade.
Shevchenko (20-3 MMA) will be looking to earn her fifth-straight title defense with a victory over Andrade this evening in Jacksonville. ‘Bullet’ was most recently seen in action at November’s UFC 255 event, where she earned a unanimous decision victory over submission ace Jennifer Maia.
Meanwhile, Jessica Andrade (21-8 MMA) earned her shot at Valentina Shevchenko by scoring a first round TKO victory over Katlyn Chookagian in her flyweight debut. That win had snapped a two-fight losing skid for the Brazilian, as Andrade had previously suffered setbacks to Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas respectively.
If that was not enough to get you interested, UFC 261 also features the return of former middleweight champion Chris Weidman who is set to take on Uriah Hall during tonight’s main card.
Weidman (15-5 MMA) will be looking to build off his recent unanimous decision win over Omari Akhmedov this past August. That victory had snapped a two-fight losing skid for ‘The All American’, as Chris had previously suffered setbacks to Ronaldo Souza and Dominick Reyes respectively.
Meanwhile, Uriah Hall (16-9 MMA) will enter UFC 261 on a three-fight winning streak, his most recent being a fourth round TKO victory over MMA legend Anderson Silva. Prior to that, ‘Primetime’ had scored wins over Antonio Carlos Junior and Bevon Lewis.
The UFC returns for their first event with live fans in over 13 months at Saturday’s UFC 261 from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
They are giving the soldout crowd their monies worth as the card features three championship fights, headlined by rivals Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, meeting once again for Usman’s welterweight championship.
Also on the card, Valentina Shevchenko puts her women’s flyweight title on the line against former women’s strawweight titlist Jessica Andrade, and Zhang Weili defends the women’s strawweight belt versus former 115-pound titleholder Rose Namajunas.
Usman and Masvidal met a little less than ten months ago at UFC 251, with the former retaining his title via unanimous decision. Masvidal took the fight on less than a week’s notice after Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19. In the aftermath of UFC 251, Masvidal felt if he had more time to prepare and get in a full training camp, the result would have gone differently.
It appeared a rematch wasn’t going to be in the cards as Usman had stopped Burns in the third round at UFC 258 on Feb. 13 and Masvidal looked to be heading towards a fight with Colby Covington. Everything changed when Usman called out Masvidal to run it back. Masvidal wanted it and, most importantly, UFC president Dana White. If the UFC was going to fans return at total capacity, White wanted to give them their bang for the buck. While Masvidal feels Usman only wanted to face him because he’s perhaps the biggest draw outside of Conor McGregor since UFC 251 did a reported 1.3 million pay-per-view buys, the champion doesn’t fully agree with that sentiment.
“There’s truth, and there’s not truth in that,” Usman told ESPN recently. “You can’t say you are the star, and that’s who I want to be. That’s wrong because I have what everyone in the world wants, so you can’t say that. Of course, does he bring more eyes right now? Absolutely. I’m a realist. I’ve always been a realist. Absolutely he brings more eyes right now. If I look at all the pools of guys I’ve been through all of them, now I’m just lapping them all. If we’re running a race right now, I’m lapping everybody right now. He’s the first guy, so he’s dead last right now, the first guy I’m about to lap. I’m lapping him.
“So yeah, does he bring a little bit more eyes? Absolutely. I don’t take that away from him. I’m proud of everything he has done, absolutely proud of him. Respect in that aspect but let’s be honest, I have what everyone wants. It’s green panty night when you fight me. He’s not getting the pay-per-views and stuff like that on his own. He has to fight me.”
For Masvidal, he feels that since he’ll have the necessary time to train and cut weight properly, he will win UFC gold for the first time and go right into a trilogy clash with Usman.
“When I win the rematch, we definitely will go for the trilogy,” Masvidal said in a recent Q&A for ESPN+ subscribers. “I will not go down in history 1-1 with this individual. It’s just not going to happen.
“I’m not gonna cut 20 pounds of weight—mainly water—in six days [this time],” Masvidal said about the rematch. “Right now, I’m eight, nine pounds before I hit the mark of 170, so it’s a different cut altogether. That will be the determining factor, I think.”
UFC 261 is the most loaded for the company to date in 2021. Can Usman prove the first time around was no fluke? Or does Masvidal show that it was?
Here is everything you need to know about UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2.