It's a stacked main card at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Fla. on Saturday. Usman vs. Masivdal will be the main event of a night that features three major title fights.
For the second time in less than a year, Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal will meet in the octagon with the UFC welterweight belt on the line. Usman earned a unanimous decision victory in the first bout between these fighters last July, after Masvidal was a late replacement for Gilbert Burns following his positive test for COVID. The question for this fight is how far can Masvidal push the champ now that they’ve both had a full training camp to prepare for each other?
Kamaru Usman UFC 261 Odds
Usman (18-1 MMA record) is a perfect 13-0 in the UFC and has successfully defended his welterweight belt three times. His second title defence pitted him against Masvidal at UFC 251. Usman controlled the fight, before using his advanced cardio to pull away late and win by unanimous decision. This will be a quick turnaround for Usman after he last fought at UFC 258 in February. He seems to be proving his willingness to be an active champion and take on any challenger who thinks they can hang with him. After originally being scheduled to meet at UFC 251, Usman was finally able to get a fight against his former training partner and teammate, Burns in February. Usman was staggered early in the fight before turning things around and picking up a TKO win in the third round.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” is three wins away from tying the legendary Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive wins in the octagon. Usman is a physical force, but what sets him apart is his mind and his natural ability to know when to use his superior traits. He’s a dominant grappler and likes to grind his opponents down. This often leads people to overlook his advanced footwork and his continually increasing standup skill. Usman’s biggest advantage in this fight, however, is his gas tank. We already saw his superior cardio take over in the championship rounds last time against Masvidal, there’s little doubt that could be the difference-maker again on Saturday.
Jorge Masvidal UFC 261 Odds
Masvidal (35-14 MMA record) has proven to be a workhorse and will take any fight at any time. His biggest year was 2019, which saw him KO/TKO Darren Till, Ben Askren (you’re not special, Jake Paul) and Nate Diaz. The Askren fight was actually the fastest knockout in UFC history at five seconds. You also need to give Masvidal credit for taking a title fight in Abu Dhabi with only one week’s notice. It was his only fight of 2020 and he managed to go the distance with the champ, so it will be interesting to see what he can do with the proper training and strategy time.
This is a big chance for “Gamebread” to prove he can be a legitimate contender in a tough welterweight division. Masvidal is everything an opponent fears. He’s smart, crafty, explosive and he loves violent exchanges. His defensive movement always leaves him in a position to counter his opponents attacks. Masvidal’s most dangerous attack is a switch-back to an overhand. The combination provides an element of surprise without sacrificing crucial power. He likes to work the body with kicks and punches and his takedown defence is tough to cut through. If Masvidal can go the distance against the champ with no training camp, what are we about to see him do on Saturday when fully prepared?
Usman vs. Masvidal UFC 261 Prediction
Even though it was less than a year ago, you almost need to throw the first fight between these opponents out the door. As much as is made of Masvidal not having any training time, a lot of people seem to forget Usman was also fighting in the dark after preparing for a completely different opponent. It’s tough to see this fight not going the distance, but Usman will defend his belt with another unanimous decision win.