UFC 261 Betting Preview

Kumaru Usman UFC 251

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen fans at a UFC event. That’ll change on Saturday when we’re expecting to see a full house at the VyStar Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The energy should be electric as the card will be headlined by three championship bouts. Let’s take a closer look at the three main fights and gauge as to what to expect.

Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal

Bovada Odds: Usman -400

This is a highly-anticipated rematch in the Welterweight division where the champ, Usman, looks to turn away Masvidal once again. These two met in July of last year in what was a very clinical performance by Usman. Masvidal might have had a slight edge when the two were trading shots standing but Usman didn’t allow that to last for long. He down Masvidal down to the ground time after time, and dominated him from that position. The question is what’s going to change this time around?

Masvidal has never been great on the ground, so unless his takedown defense has improved drastically, we’re likely to see the same result.

Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas

Intertops Odds: Weili -200

Last time we saw Zhang Weili, she was in the midst of an epic war with Joanna Jedrzejczyk in what ended up being the Fight of the Year. Now she’ll take on Namajunas in what should be another interesting clash.

Weili is 21-1 in her MMA career but she hasn’t fought since March of last year due to the COVID-19 situation. As for Namajunas, she’s been off since beating Jessica Andrade last July.

What some may notice in their common opponents is that Namajunas fought Jedrzejczyk twice and beat her both times – knocking her out once. Weili did beat Jedrzejczyk but many feel it was a really tight contest that could have gone either way. Is that a tell for how things will go down? Weili is a sizable favorite in this spot as the oddsmakers are expecting her to pick up the win.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade

Bet365 Odds: Shevchenko -400

Speaking of Andrade, she’s going to get a title shot at Flyweight when she steps into the Octagon with Shevchenko. Andrade is a bit of a mixed bag as we’re still not quite certain how good she is. She did land a knockout of Rose Namajunas but many felt that was a bit of a fluke/lucky move. Other than that, she’s actually lost two of her last three and has struggled when taking a step up in competition.

As for Shevchenko, she’s just a machine that keeps motoring right along. She only has three losses on her resume and two of them are to Amanda Nunes, who is arguably the best female fighter of all-time. The last time Shevchenko lost to someone other than Nunes was over a decade ago in September of 2010.

Andrade is a finisher as 15 of her 21 wins have come via knockout or submission. If Shevchenko can keep her distance while standing and be cautious on the ground, she should pick up the win.