Per the boss himself Dana White, UFC 261 will be held on April 24th in Jacksonville, Florida, and will feature three title fights. Not to mention, the long-awaited return of a full crowd. Usman vs Masvidal 2 will be the headliner, while Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade and Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas will be the two other title bouts on this historic card.
Usman vs Masvidal 2 Announced, But is the Triumphant Return of Full Crowd’s the Real Story?
The last UFC event to hold a full crowd was UFC 248, headlined by Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. That event was held back in 2018, in front of an audience made up of a little more than 15 thousand people. Since then, the highest reported attendance has been 2,600 people, at UFC 257.
With no fans in attendance, we’ve been treated to a strange abnormality with these events that feature little to no crowd. It’s definitely a more intimate viewing experience, with nuances like being able to clearly hear fighters talking to each other mid-fight. The pops, snaps, and thuds of punches and kicks have been on full display with the lack of noise from no crowds as well, and instructions to fighters from the corner-men can be heard as plain as day almost. However, with the announcement tonight by Dana White, it’s finally seeming like things are slowly going back to normal after the crushing pandemic that was COVID-19.
UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 Preview
Kamaru Usman (18-1, 13-0 UFC) is coming off an extremely entertaining match against former training-partner Gilbert Burns. At UFC 258, Usman showed that he could struggle through adversity after getting hurt early by Burns. Usman would start utilizing an extremely potent jab that would eventually lead to the TKO finish 0:34 into round three.
Prior to the battle with Burns, Usman faced Masvidal himself at UFC 251 on 6 days’ notice as Masvidal stepped in for Burns after he tested positive for COVID. Grinding out a decision against the cage with feet stomps mostly, Usman held back the dynamic and deadly striking of “Gamebred” to secure the win.
Jorge Masvidal (35-14, 12-7 UFC) was in the midst of a life-changing run he labeled “The Resurrection” before that fateful fight with Usman. Now, Usman vs Masvidal 2 has been officially announced, and “Gamebred” will receive a full camp this time in hopes to try to avoid meeting the same fate he met the first time around.
Who can ever forget “The Resurrection”? Masvidal loses to Stephen Thompson at UFC 217 via decision, goes away for a reality TV show on some remote island, and comes back literally knocking people into different stratospheres. Satire aside, it was a legendary rise-to-fame for a veteran that put the work in and deserved the shine.
The run started with a clean knockout of Darren Till in London. Followed up by the “Three Piece and a Soda” on Leon Edwards backstage. Next, was the now-infamous flying-knee landed on Ben Askren at UFC 239. Last but not least, a battle against Nate Diaz for the BMF belt resulted in a TKO win for Masvidal due to doctor stoppage.
UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 is shaping up to be an amazing card! Packed with great fights, and two extremely intriguing Women’s title fights. While it is confirmed by Dana White that Usman vs Masvidal 2 will be headlining, keep in mind that the order of the rest of the card could be shuffled as fights get added or fall off this historic card! Check out the full lineup here:
- UFC Welterweight title-fight: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal
- UFC Women’s Flyweight title-fight: Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade
- UFC Women’s Strawweight title-fight: Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas
- Middleweight: Chris Weidman vs Uriah Hall
- Light Heavyweight: Anthony Smith vs Jimmy Crute
- Bantamweight: Danaa Batgerel vs Kevin Natividad
- Middleweight: Brendan Allen vs Karl Roberson
- Flyweight: Jeff Molina vs Qileng Aori
- Bantamweight: Johnny Munoz Jr. vs Mark Striegl
- Women’s Strawweight: Ariane Carnelossi vs Na Liang
What a card UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 is! Three title-fights, a rematch between Weidman and Hall that’s been almost forever in the making, and Smith vs Crute just has fireworks written all over it. What’s your favorite fight on the card? Let us know, and drop your predictions for UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal 2 in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter @MmaMakoa_, Instagram mmamakoa_, and Facebook @MakoaGobleMMA for more combat sports news and discussions. Also, make sure to follow @OT_Heroics for all of your sporting needs. Don’t forget OTHeroicsMMA for all things MMA.
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images