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UFC 261 Results and Takeaways: Three Title Fights, Three Statements Made

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UFC 261 was one of the most memorable events in the promotion’s history for several reasons. The return of fans, a gruesome injury, and a trio of title fight finishes made UFC 261 truly a night to remember.

Immediately upon fight-action, fans at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida created an electric atmosphere. Watchers at home were quickly reminded how much a live audience adds to the viewing experience. Competitors gave the crowd reason to cheer all night long as there was hardly a dull moment all evening.

Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, and Valentina Shevchenko each made statements in their title bouts by taking little time to score highlight finishes. Additionally, Ariane Carnelossi, Danaa Batgeral, Brendan Allen, and Randy Brown left UFC 261 with standout performances of their own.

UFC 261 Results and Takeaways

Usman Flatlines Masvidal

“The Nigerian Nightmare” solidified his status as the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet by knocking out Jorge Masvidal in the second round. The run that Usman is currently on is largely unparalleled, and it’s clear that he’s still improving at 33 years of age. Since dominating Tyron Woodley and securing the welterweight strap, Usman has successfully defended his belt four times while only going the distance once.

Credit the coaching of Trevor Wittman for helping Usman reach these new heights in his game. His striking has been taken to another level, which was on full display at UFC 261. His jab and straight right hand are sharp and powerful, but above all else is his sheer will to win. Usman is rounding out his game and is becoming one of the most well-rounded fighters the sport has ever seen.

UFC President Dana White made it known that a rematch with Colby Covington will be next for the champ. Meanwhile, the next move for “Gamebred” remains unclear, but everyone still wants to see him face both Covington and Leon Edwards at some point.

Rose Shocks the World Again

JACKSONVILLE, FL – APRIL 24: Rose Namajunas of the United States celebrates after beating Zhang Weili of China during the Women’s Strawweight Title bout of UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

“Thug” Rose beating Weili Zhang isn’t necessarily shocking, but knocking her out in the opening round with a flush head kick certainly is. As proclaimed by the commentary team, the outcome was reminiscent of when she first won the belt over Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2017. Leading up to the fight, Namajunas stressed the fact that opponents struggle to absorb her power and she proved to be dead right.

Zhang was displeased with the stoppage, but it was absolutely well-timed and the right decision by the referee. Prior to the UFC 261 results, Zhang hadn’t lost in 21 outings (her pro debut). As far as an immediate rematch is concerned, Namajunas appeared open to the possibility, yet Dana seems anxious to give Jedrzejczyk a third crack at solving the Rose puzzle.

Shevchenko Did What She Does… Dominate

Coming into this matchup, many believed that Jessica Andrade would have a strength advantage in the grappling department. “The Bullet” swiftly proved that the opposite was the case by taking Andrade downtime and time again. When it was all said and done, Shevchenko finished a perfect seven-for-seven on her takedown attempts. The flyweight queen reminded everyone that the gap between her and the division’s contenders is still vast.

The chance of Shevchenko fighting Amanda Nunes for the third time is still minuscule, despite many people’s wishes. For now, it appears as though “The Bullet” will continue to take on all comers in the division that she reigns over. The winner of Lauren MurphyJoanne Calderwood would present a fresh face for the champ. Contrarily, Andrade will likely remain at 125lbs and take on someone in the top-10.

Back-To-Back Gruesome Injuries

The UFC 261 main card kicked off with two straight spine-chilling injuries. First, Jimmy Crute ate an Anthony Smith leg kick which was eerily similar to Sean O’Malley‘s injury against Marlon Vera. The talented Australian light heavyweight showed extreme toughness in attempting to continue, but doctors were forced to call the fight off between rounds one and two. The extent of Crute’s injury is still to be determined.

Then, when we thought things couldn’t get any worse Chris Weidman snapped his leg in half. Unlike Crute’s injury, Weidman’s occurred when he threw a leg kick. The irony (not humorous) of Weidman being on the other end of a broken leg after what happened when he fought Anderson Silva is nothing short of unbelievable. Thoughts and prayers go out to the former middleweight champ as he recovers from the unforeseen UFC 261 results.

UFC 261 Results (Prelims)

  • Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira (Rear Naked Choke)- Rd. 1
  • Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulic (Split Decision)- Rd. 3
  • Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson (Ankle Lock)- Rd. 1
  • Patrick Sabatini def. Tristan Connelly (Unanimous Decision)- Rd. 3
  • Danaa Batgeral def. Kevin Natividad (TKO, Punches)- Rd. 1
  • Rodrigo Vargas def. Rong Zhu (Unanimous Decision)- Rd. 3
  • Jeff Molina def. Qileng Aori (Unanimous Decision)- Rd. 3
  • Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang (TKO, Punches)- Rd. 2

It’s going to be difficult for any future card to surpass UFC 261 in terms of memorability. Credit Dana White and the UFC for being first once again and creating a safe environment for a live event. What are your opinions on the event as a whole after the UFC 261 results? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

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Ryan Truland is an experienced MMA writer for Ryan regularly conducts interviews with athletes, provides creative pieces, and whatever else is needed to keep readers up to date with the latest and greatest MMA content.