Venue: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Date: Saturday, April 24, 2021
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 is an upcoming mixed martial arts event produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship that will take place on April 24, 2021 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
Since the promotion shifted to UFC Apex due to COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions, Dana White is determined to be the first to sell out an arena again. And choosing Jacksonville to host its first return event is not a surprise to many as the River City was one of the first to allow UFC to stage an event soon after the pandemic hit, which resulted in the postponement of UFC 249.
A UFC Welterweight Championship rematch between the current champion Kamaru Usman (also The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians welterweight winner) and Jorge Masvidal is expected to headline the event. They previously met at UFC 251, where Usman defended his title via unanimous decision.
A UFC Women's Flyweight Championship bout between current champion Valentina Shevchenko and former strawweight champion Jéssica Andrade is scheduled to take place at the co-main event.
A UFC Women's Strawweight Championship bout between the current champion Zhang Weili and former champion Rose Namajunas will complete the triad of title fights.
A middleweight rematch between former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall was expected to take place at UFC 258 in February. They met previously in September 2010 at a Ring of Combat event for the organization's middleweight title, with Weidman winning via TKO. However, Weidman was pulled from that event in late-January due to a positive COVID-19 test. The pairing is expected to remain intact and take place at this event.
Johnny Walker was expected to face Jimmy Crute in a light heavyweight bout. However, Walker pulled out due to an injury and was replaced by former UFC Light Heavyweight Championship challenger Anthony Smith.
Randy Brown and Alex Oliveira were expected to meet in a welterweight bout at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gane, but Brown pulled out due to undisclosed reasons. They are now scheduled to meet at this event.
A bantamweight bout between Mark Striegl and Johnny Muñoz was expected to take place at the event. However, Striegl was removed from the bout on March 24 due to undisclosed reasons and replaced by Jamey Simmons.
According to reports, Jorge Masvidal is a slight betting favourite going into the rematch, even though he lost the first clash at UFC 251. Kamaru Usman dominated most of the rounds, eventually winning via unanimous decision (50–45, 50–45, 49–46). Since then, The Nigerian Nightmare has defended his title against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 and Masvidal has not entered the octagon since the loss.
Official Fight Card
|Welterweight||Kamaru Usman (c)||def.||Jorge Masvidal||KO (punch)||2||1:02|
|Women’s Strawweight||Rose Namajunas||def.||Zhang Weili (c)||KO (head kick)||1||1:18|
|Women’s Flyweight||Valentina Shevchenko (c)||def.||Jéssica Andrade||TKO (elbows)||2||3:19|
|Middleweight||Uriah Hall||def.||Chris Weidman||TKO (leg injury)||1||0:17|
|Light Heavyweight||Anthony Smith||def.||Jimmy Crute||TKO (doctor stoppage)||1||5:00|
|Preliminary Card (ESPN / ESPN+)|
|Welterweight||Randy Brown||def.||Alex Oliveira||Submission (rear-naked choke)||1||2:50|
|Welterweight||Dwight Grant||def.||Stefan Sekulić||Decision (split) (28–29, 29–28, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Middleweight||Brendan Allen||def.||Karl Roberson||Submission (ankle lock)||1||4:55|
|Featherweight||Patrick Sabatini||def.||Tristan Connelly||Decision (unanimous) (30–27, 29–28, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Early Preliminary Card (ESPN2 / ESPN+)|
|Bantamweight||Danaa Batgerel||def.||Kevin Natividad||TKO (punches)||1||0:50|
|Lightweight||Rodrigo Vargas||def.||Rong Zhu||Decision (unanimous) (30–26, 29–28, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Flyweight||Jeff Molina||def.||Qileng Aori||Decision (unanimous) (29–28, 29–28, 29–27)||3||5:00|
|Women’s Strawweight||Ariane Carnelossi||def.||Na Liang||TKO (punches)||2||1:28|
Kamaru Usman (c) def. Jorge Masvidal via second-round TKO (punches)
Rose Namajunas (c) def. Weili Zhang via first-round knockout (head kick)
Valentina Shevchenko (c) def. Jessica Andrade via second-round TKO (punches, elbows)
Uriah Hall def. Chris Weidman via first-round TKO (leg injury)
Anthony Smith def. Jimmy Crute via first-round TKO (doctor stoppage)
Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira via first-round submission (rear naked choke)
Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulic via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson via first-round submission (heel hook)
Patrick Sabatini def. Tristan Connelly via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Danaa Batgerel def. Kevin Natividad via first-round TKO (punches)
Kazula Vargas def. Rong Zhu via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
Jeffrey Molina def. Aoriqileng via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang via second-round TKO (punches)
*Fights labeled as "may not be broadcast" are scheduled to take place before the live broadcast begins. These pre-recorded fights are inserted into the broadcast if time permits. However, due to broadcast time constraints some of these undercard bouts may not be seen on a broadcast. These additional bout can be found as bonus footage on the event DVD.