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UFC April 2021 Recap: In-Depth Breakdown + Biggest Takeaways

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Although there were only three UFC events in April, each card presented fight fans with some fantastic bouts and key victories for some very prominent names. Join us for our UFC April 2021 recap, where we will take a look at the in-depth stats from each card, along with our biggest takeaways from the month!

UFC April 2021 Recap: The “Nitty Gritty”

UFC Vegas 23 (4/10)

  • 13 Fights
    • 8 Decisions
      • 6 Unanimous
      • 2 Split
    • 5 Finishes
      • 2 KO/TKOs
        • 1 in Round One
        • 1 in Round Two
      • 3 Submissions
        • 1 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Sam Alvey vs. Julian Marquez
    • Performance: Mackenzie Dern (Submission) and Mateusz Gamrot (KO)

UFC Vegas 24 (4/17)

  • 10 Fights
    • 8 Decisions
      • 4 Unanimous
      • 3 Split 
      • 1 Technical Split
    • 2 Finishes
      • 1 KO/TKO
        • 1 in Round Two
      • 1 Submission
        • 1 in Round One
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
    • Performance: Gerald Meerschaert (Submission) and Tony Gravely (TKO)

UFC 261 (4/24)

  • 13 Fights
    • 4 Decisions
      • 3 Unanimous
      • 1 Split
    • 9 Finishes
      • 7 KO/TKOs
        • 4 in Round One
        • 3 in Round Two
      • 2 Submissions
        • 2 in Round One
  • Bonus Winners
    • Fight of the Night: Aori Qileng vs. Jeff Molina
    • Performance: Kamaru Usman (KO) and Rose Namajunas (KO)

April 2021 Totals

  • 36 Fights
    • 20 Decisions
      • 13 Unanimous
      • 6 Split
      • 1 Technical Split
    • 16 Finishes
      • 10 KO/TKOs (0 in Rounds Three, Four or Five)
        • 5 in Round One
        • 5 in Round Two
      • 6 Submissions (0 in Rounds Three, Four or Five)
        • 4 in Round One
        • 2 in Round Two
  • Total Bonus Money Awarded = $600,000
    • 3 Fight of the Nights
    • 6 Performance Awards

UFC April 2021 Recap: Biggest Takeaways

UFC 261 Delivers in Every Way Imaginable

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – APRIL 24: A general view of the Octagon with a sold out crowd of fans during the UFC 261 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 24, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The saying goes around now and again of “saving the best for last”, which is exactly what happened with UFC 261. Not only was this event the final event on the UFC’s April 2021 calendar, but it was also the best event of the month as well, and maybe the year. Jacksonville, Florida played host to the very first UFC event during the COVID-19 pandemic back in May of 2020 and at UFC 261, the sunshine state would not only host a UFC event again but the first full capacity indoor sporting event in the United States since before the pandemic began.

The arena was full of energy and although fights without a crowd had a very unique aurora around them, having 15,000 screaming fans present at this event felt like something written in a fairytale. UFC 261 was stacked from top to bottom with three title fights and a plethora of battles on the prelims as well. The fighters that graced this card knew they had such a huge night in front of them and every single one went out there with the idea in mind of putting on a show!

We saw the pay-per-view start with two back-to-back TKO leg kick finishes. The first being the brutal leg kicks of Anthony Smith damaging Jimmy Crute so badly that he could not walk properly out of his corner to start the second round and the fight having to be called off. However, this was not before Smith was piecing up Crute on the feet with a very crisp jab, while Crute also had great moments securing two takedowns to finish the round.

The second was a brutal, freak injury to the right leg of Chris Weidman after throwing the first strike of the entire fight against Uriah Hall. We would see Hall check the kick and it resulted in Weidman breaking his leg, causing the fight to end just 18 seconds into the first round. As if these two endings didn’t have fans on the edge of their seats already, not knowing what to expect next, we still had three championship fights to go.

The first being the always dominant Valentina Shevchenko defending her title successfully for the fifth time against Jessica Andrade. Right from the start, Shevchenko utilized a very grappling-heavy game plan, securing 7 takedowns in only a round and a half before securing the ground and pound TKO finish. Valentina proved once again why she is one of the pound-for-pound greatest talents we have ever seen grace the UFC octagon. The multiple-time Muy Thai world champion didn’t even need her amazing standup striking skills to get this one done, showing that she is prepared for battle no matter who the opponent is and where the fight plays out.

The co-main event would feature one of the most anticipated women’s title fights in UFC history between Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas. As much hype as this fight had built up, we must admit it did deliver, but in a way shorter outcome. That is because we would see “Thug Rose” shock the world yet again and secure a head kick knockout of the dominant Weili just 1:18 into the very first round. The technical striking we are so used to seeing from Rose shined once more and she proved that she is the greatest 115-pound women’s fighter on the planet.

Last but not least we saw the rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal cap the night off. The tension so present it could be cut with a knife as both men stared at each other across the octagon, it was as if you knew something fantastic was about to transpire, and that it did. After a very hard-fought first round, with Usman getting the better of the striking exchanges and executing some work on the ground, it was in round two where the jaws of every fan in the stands, along with millions of people watching around the world, would drop.

Usman did what no other man had ever done before and knocked Masvidal out cold one minute into the second round. As if the grappling of Usman wasn’t already hard enough to gameplan for, he has now finished three of his last four fights via standup KO/TKO, which is terrifying to think about. Kamaru has solidified himself as one of, if not the great pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now and continues to chase the legend that is Georges St-Pierre.

This event truly encapsulated everything that the UFC represents and it accumulated into such a special night. From the roar of the crowd returning to the sport we all love, the insane back and forth battles, and the madness that resulted from each title fight. Saturday, April 24th, 2021 will go down in the history books for the UFC and will hold a special place in the hearts of fight fans for years to come.

Give us your thoughts on our UFC April 2021 Recap and what you felt were the biggest takeaways of the month in the comments below!

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Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images 

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Dominic Sallee is a Combat Sports writer. He focuses primarily on the UFC, with plans to venture out with pieces from other MMA organizations in the future. Along with writing, Dominic is also the Co-Host of the Below Average Joe's MMA Podcast, which produces 2-3 new episodes per week about all things in the MMA community!