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UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal 2 Preview

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UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal 2 Preview

UFC 261 is arguably the most exciting card of 2021. The event, which features three title fights, takes place in a full capacity VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

The UFC 261 main event features a welterweight title rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, a co-main event bout between strawweight elites Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas, and a flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade. The card also features a number of nail-biting matchups, and it’s 100 percent a must-watch.

Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal 2

Jorge Masvidal stepped in on one week’s notice to challenge Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 after Gilbert Burns, who was originally scheduled to fight the Nigerian-American, pulled out due to COVID. Masvidal went on to lose the fight via unanimous decision but asked Dana White to give him a rematch with a full training camp, and he’ll beat the champion.

Masvidal has got his wish, and with that, a huge chance to prove that he’s not a ‘journeyman’, as many people suggest. However, Usman looks invincible at the moment. He’s one of the scariest grapplers on the UFC roster, but Masvidal is ‘Gamebred’ for a reason.

The paths to victory for both are obvious. Masvidal would like to keep the fight standing, while Usman would like to engage in a clinch-to-takedown battle. The fight will certainly be more interesting and competitive than the first one. Masvidal will be better prepared for Usman’s constant pressure, and Usman will be better prepared for Masvidal’s brawling.

Masvidal is a hard man to take down and an even harder one to keep on the ground. Therefore, Usman will have to mix things up to stay ahead on the judges’ scorecards. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has been working with Trevor Wittman and has improved his striking game a lot. Whether it’ll be enough to challenge Masvidal, we don’t know yet.

But it’s also not sure whether Masvidal would be able to keep the fight in the center of the Octagon. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens at UFC 261.

Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas

Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas is the peoples’ main event. This is arguably the biggest fight in strawweight history, with two highly skilled fighters going toe-to-toe against one another. The two ladies are very well-matched in all areas. Whether it’s striking, grappling, conditioning, fight IQ, or technical prowess, Zhang Weili and Rose have it all.

However, they do have their advantages and disadvantages in certain areas. For example, Weili is the stronger and more powerful fighter. She’s also a finisher, with 11 knockout and 7 submission wins. Namajunas is the taller fighter, with a decent reach advantage, and has excellent lateral movement on the feet. She’s also very technical on the mat.

The fight is literally like a coin toss because it can go either way unless Namajunas tries to stand-and-bang with the champion, which wouldn’t be a wise move. The last time Weili stepped inside the Octagon, she produced the greatest fight in women’s MMA history, along with Joanna Jędrzejczyk. This one’s going to be no different.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade

At flyweight, Valentina Shevchenko doesn’t know how to lose, but Jessica Andrade brings a formidable challenge to the table.

Andrade is a tricky matchup for Shevchenko. The Brazilian isn’t something the champion hasn’t seen before, but it’s still a fight she’ll need to be perfectly prepared for. Andrade is a tank, who doesn’t know any other way than constantly moving forward. She’s also got massive power in her hands and can knock any fighter her size out in a fistfight.

However, Shevchenko has battled against all sorts of styles. She’s fought Amanda Nunes twice, and Andrade surely doesn’t hit as hard as ‘The Lioness’. When it comes to striking, Shevchenko is pound-for-pound one of the very best in the UFC. Her technique, speed, precision, and movement are second to none, and she rarely makes mistakes.

She will certainly look to stay on the outside and use her kicks to manage the distance against Andrade at UFC 261. But she will also be ready to counter as soon as Andrade dares to attack. Shevchenko is clearly the better fighter and should win comfortably, but Andrade’s relentless style will definitely make things interesting.

Chris Weidman vs Uriah Hall

The rematch between Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall has been a long time coming. They fought for the first time outside of the UFC in 2010 when both were only starting their journey. As they enter the twilight of their careers now, both Weidman and Hall promise to give their all for one final run at UFC gold.

Weidman is 2-5 in his last seven fights, but he’s been extremely unlucky. He was winning most of the fights before he got finished. Hall has had his share of bad luck as well, but he’s currently riding a three-fight win streak.

Stylistically, it’s a great matchup. Weidman is predominantly a wrestler, while Hall is a striker, but they’ve both got vicious knockout power. Weidman is the underdog going into UFC 261, but there’s no major reason to count him out. All in all, it’s going to be a very entertaining fight.

Anthony Smith vs Jimmy Crute

Anthony Smith has been fighting for as long as one can remember, and he’s only 32-years-old. With 50 fights under his belt, Smith is a veteran of the game, who will be fighting a younger and hungrier prospect in Jimmy Crute at UFC 261.

Both Smith and Crute are BJJ black belts and have solid striking as well. However, the years of battles have certainly taken a toll on Smith’s durability. ‘Lionheart’ is 2-3 in his last five fights, and doesn’t seem to show a lot of signs of progress. On the other hand, not only is Crute the fresher fighter, but he’s also quicker and more powerful.

With that being said, Smith loves being the underdog and has overcome the odds a number of times, and it won’t be a surprise if he pulls this one-off too. However, Crute has the edge in this fight.

The Other Fights On The Card

Alex Oliveira vs Randy Brown

Dwight Grant vs Stefan Sekulić

Karl Roberson vs Brendan Allen

Patrick Sabatini vs Tristan Connelly

Danaa Batgerel vs Kevin Natividad

Kazula Vargas vs Rong Zhu

Qileng Aori vs Jeffrey Molina

Na Liang vs Ariane Carnelossi

What are your predictions for UFC 261?

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