UFC 261 the return of the fans!
So here we have UFC 261 I’ve been really looking forward to this one! This is another card with 3 Titles on the line. Kicking off with the Women’s Flyweight title, followed by the Women’s Strawweight title and finally the Men’s Welterweight title these are some really exciting fights and with the women fighting you know we’re going to see some high energy and fast hands flying.
This card is stacked from top to bottom and I can’t wait to see the results. Not only that but the fans are back for the first time since the pandemic started. We’ll cover the main card today.
Anthony Smith vs Jimmy Crute
First of all we have former title challenger Anthony Smith against up-and-comer Jimmy Crute. Lionheart Smith has an impressive 50 professional fights whereas Jimmy has 13, this’ll be an interesting bout and I find these guys to be evenly matched.
Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith has had a tough time since his title bout with Jon Jones. Personally I’d like to see him re-establish his position as a top contender. He has 18 KO/TKO’s on his record but he also has a high amount of Submission wins. Lionheart will be looking for an impressive win this weekend.
Jimmy Crute has only lost one fight so far in his career he’s coming out of Australia and the Oceanic region has become a prominent force within the UFC over the last few years and Jimmy will be looking to increase the stock in his home region. He’ll be hoping to put on an impressive performance and get a position as Top 10 Light heavyweight.
Prediction: Anthony Smith wins via a Split Decision
Uriah Hall vs Chris Weidman 2
This bout came as a surprise to me- especially to see it on the main card, although these two do deserve respect with a combined 18 years in the UFC. They’ve both had their ups and downs in their UFC careers most recently Weidman has been on the worst form of his career.
Chris Weidman was 13-0 in his professional record until he lost in 2015 he’s now lost 5 of his last 7 fights leaving him at 15-5. As a previous UFC champion this man should be respected and he has beaten some very very well known names within the UFC, however a loss here could be the end of his UFC career, but I’m sure Bellator would happily pick him up. Let’s hope his Dad is his corner for this one as he always has some cringey quotes.
Uriah has become somewhat of a gatekeeper within the Middleweight division fighting a lot of well known names as well as up-and-comers. Unfortunately for him he has lost a lot of fights to the big names, which is why I would describe him as a gatekeeper. These two also fought previously and Uriah was on the losing side.
Prediction: Uriah Hall via a TKO in Round 2
…And now we have the three title fights of the evening coming up.
First of all we have:
Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade
We have a dominant champion against a strong contender fighting their second fight in this division. Valentina has been a strong force in the UFC since joining, only losing to the female G.O.A.T. As for Andrade, she was a champion in the Women’s Strawweight division and has now moved up to fight the Flyweight champion.
Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko has been taking heads since joining the UFC. Beating former champions in impressive fashion. With a solid focus on her objectives and how to beat her opponent she does not let anything get in her head and she is always striving for a big finish. As a fan I hope to see her letting off some head kicks and some vicious elbows.
Andrade is short for this division but she has a stocky build and she can certainly finish this fight with a single punch or as she did with Namajunas just dunk Valentina on her head. This is a new division for Andrade. I wonder if she can continue the transition and have a successful performance against the champion. It’s a tough challenge ahead but she has faced adversity before and was a champion in her previous division.
Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko via a KO in Round 2
Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas
This is my most anticipated fight of the night. I believe this will be a fast paced back and forth affair with both fighters bringing it from the off. This bout has some political influences attached to it. Rose remarked about how communism is a bad thing and her family escaped from a communist country whereas Weili is from China.
Zhang Weili is the first ever Chinese champion within the UFC she has put in strong performances and put on a masterclass against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the fight of the year in 2020. Let’s see if Rose can help her provide another.
Thug Rose is a former champion of this division and she is looking to reclaim the title. Rose is a hard fighter to describe in terms of style but she brings tons of heart and self belief. She only has 1 KO/TKO on her record and this was also against Joanna Jedrzejczyk which is no mere feat.
Prediction: Zhang Weili via a TKO in Round 4
And finally we have an epic rematch between two well known names in the UFC but the main attraction here is the challenger…
Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal
First of all this rematch came about after Usman called out Masvidal earlier this year. They fought in July last year but Masvidal was called up with only 6 days notice, but this time he has had a full camp to train. This event is also taking place in Florida, Masvidal’s home state.
Kamaru keeps calling for more respect from the fans and his colleagues and in my books he has earned it beating all the top Welterweights. He only called Masvidal out again because ‘he wants to break his will’ and he was not satisfied with just beating him the first time.
Masvidal aka ‘Street Jesus’ is a fan favourite and is likely to bring in many casuals for this event. The fight is also in his home state as well as that fans are back for the first time so I’m sure they’ll be electric when he steps up to fight. He holds the fastest knockout in UFC history with a 5 second fight against Ben Askren and he’s looking to add another stunning KO to his resume.
Prediction: Usman via a TKO in Round 4