UFC 261 Betting Odds and Predictions – Three Title Fights On April 24
The UFC has decided to get back into packed arenas and get fans to enjoy live MMA action once again. UFC 261 will take place in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 24 and feature a packed stadium as UFC President Dana White announced that tickets were sold out in just a few minutes.
UFC 261 has one of the most stacked cards of 2021 as there are many as three title fights on the line, provided all fighters manage to make weight and fight off COVID-19. Apart from the title fights, there are some great fights on the main card and the preliminary cards.
Our MMA experts look at the three title fights, look at the betting odds and share their predictions.
Usman vs. Masvidal 2
The Main Event at UFC 261 will see Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal go at it again as the champ Usman puts the welterweight title on the line once again against Masvidal. The first time these two fought was back in July 2020 when Usman was scheduled to face Gilbert Burns, but the fight fell through during the last week as Burs caught COVID.
Masvidal decided to step up to the challenge and took the fight on 5 days’ notice. The title fight turned out to be a one-sided affair as Usman dominated Masvidal with his wrestling and won by unanimous decision. Soon after the fight, Masvidal called for a rematch stating that his performance was affected by taking a short notice fight and going through a challenging weight cut.
Usman defended his welterweight title in Feb 2021 when he defeated Gilbert Burns by TKO. Soon after, he called out Masvidal for the rematch, which surprised many people because it was a one-sided affair before and not a close contest. Masvidal has gone through a full training camp this time around but is still a massive betting underdog at 4.0, while Usman is the favorite with odds of 1.25.
While Masvidal might have improved his takedown defense, we don’t think the result will change, and Usman will win once again. You might consider betting on how the fight will end as Usman has promised to finish Masvidal. If you like placing side bets, look for a TKO by Usman.
Zhang vs. Namajunas
UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang will defend her belt against former champ Rose Namajunas. Zhang goes in as the favorite with odds of 1.53 to Rose’s 2.62, but we expect it to be a very close fight.
Rose Namajunas generally likes to talk in the Octagon, but she stirred things up in the lead-up to the fight when she referred to China’s communist stance and the fact that Zhang wears red to the Octagon. She said it was better to be dead than to be red – a direct snipe at Zhang.
Namajunas fights really well when she is calm and has her emotions under control. Fight week will tell us whether both fighters have their emotions under control or if they are letting things get personal. This will be a really tough test for the champ, but she has a great overall game and tremendous tenacity, as she has shown in her past fights.
We are going to go with the bookmakers on this one as well and back Zhang to win.
Shevchenko vs. Andrade
If you follow women’s MMA, you know that Valentina Shevchenko is one of the best MMA fighters on the planet. She will put her flyweight title on the line when she defends her belt against Jessica Andrade. Shevchenko has been so dominant at flyweight that the bookmakers have her as a huge betting favorite with odds of 1.25 with Andrade at 4.00.
This will be an interesting fight for Shevchenko, and many believe this could be her biggest test to date. Andrade is a former strawweight champion and hits really hard at flyweight. Whether Shevchenko will get within range and damage her opponent remains to be seen as Valentina is great at maintaining defense.
Shevchenko does not really have a weakness in either her stand-up or ground game. We are going to go with the bookmakers on this one and back Shevchenko to win.
Other Exciting Fights
You will see the return of the All American Chris Weidman (1.90), who will take on Uriah Hall (1.90) at middleweight. We think that Weidman should have the edge in this fight as his wrestling will give him the edge. The other fight to watch out for is Anthony Smith (2.62) vs. Aussie Jimmy Crute (1.53). We would back the experienced Smith to pull off a win!