Kamaru Usman will once again defend his UFC welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261, which will take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. It will be the first UFC event since March 2020 that a capacity crowd will be available in the United States.
Usman vs. Masvidal 2 is one of three title fights on a card that sold out within hours. More than 15,000 spectators are expected to be in the arena.
The first time Usman and Masvidal met, in July 2020, “Gamebred” had stepped in on less than a week’s notice to challenge for the title after Usman’s original opponent, Gilbert Burns, was pulled from the fight because he contracted COVID-19.
Usman dominated the fight with clinch work and takedowns. He earned a unanimous decision to retain his title. Now that both fighters have had a full camp, will things be different this time?
Also on the card are Valentina Shevchenko defending her women’s flyweight title against Jessica Andrade and Zhang Weili putting her women’s strawweight title on the line against former champion Rose Namajunas.
Shevchenko is widely recognized as the second-best woman fighter on the planet. She pushed dual champion Amanda Nunes to the limit on two occasions before dropping down to flyweight and becoming champion with a dominant performance over Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She will be seeking her fifth consecutive title defense when she faces former strawweight champion Andrade.
Zhang is making her second title defense after putting on a Fight of the Year performance against Jędrzejczyk in March 2020 before the pandemic struck. Namajunas put herself back in title position last July by avenging her title loss to Andrade.
Sporting News is tracking live fight updates and highlights from Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2 and the entire undercard. Follow for complete results from UFC 261.
UFC 261 live updates, highlights from Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2
10:15 p.m.: We’re kicking off UFC 261 with a full house and a light heavyweight battle between Anthony Smith and Jimmy Crute. Smith bounced back from back-to-back losses with a first-round submission against Devin Clark while Crute has two straight first-round finishes.
9:43 p.m.: Randy Brown finished the job against Oliveira with a remarkable one-armed rear-naked choke in the first round. He put Oliveira down with a straight right hand early in the round and chased the Brazilian to the canvas. Oliveira attempted to escape but Brown got his back and wrapped one arm around his opponent’s neck. Oliveira tried to fight him off but Brown was squeezing hard and got the submission finish. There was clearly a bit of animosity between the two fighters but Brown directed fans to his Twitch channel for an explanation.
9:32 p.m.: The crowd at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena has been on fire from the first fight. Obviously, they are pleased to be able to watch fights live despite concerns of the lingering COVID pandemic. We’ve had a few finishes and some decisions but fans don’t care and are ready to blow the roof off once the main card hits. But, for now, we conclude the prelims with Alex Oliveira facing Randy Brown.
Usman vs. Masvidal 2 start time
- Early prelims: 5:45 p.m. ET
- Prelims: 8 p.m. ET
- PPV main card: 10 p.m. ET
- Usman vs. Masvidal fight: 12:15 a.m. ET (approx.)
The main card for UFC 261 will begin around 10 p.m. ET. Usman and Masvidal are expected to enter the Octagon at approximately 12:15 a.m. ET. The start time of the main event will depend on how long the earlier fights last.
How to watch UFC 261
- TV channels: ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+
The early fights on the UFC 261 card can be watched on ESPN or streamed via the Watch ESPN app. The main card will be available via ESPN+, which requires a subscription.
UFC 261 card
- Kamaru Usman (c) vs. Jorge Masvidal for Usman’s UFC welterweight championship
- Zhang Weili (c) vs. Rose Namajunas for Zhang’s UFC women’s strawweight championship
- Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Jessica Andrade for Shevchenko’s UFC women’s flyweight championship
- Uriah Hall vs. Chris Weidman; middleweights
- Anthony Smith vs. Jimmy Crute; light heavyweights
- Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira via 1st round submission (2:50)
- Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulic via split decision (29-28, 29-28 & 28-29)
- Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson via 1st round submission (4:55)
- Patrick Sabatini def. Tristan Connelly via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28)
- Danaa Batgerel def. Kevin Natividad via 1st round TKO (:50)
- Rodrigo Vargas def. Rong Zhu via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28 & 29-28)
- Jeffrey Molina def. Qileng Aori via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-27)
- Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang via 2nd round TKO (1:28)