While UFC Vegas 24 may be the next stop on the company’s calendar, it’s never too early to look at UFC 261. The event is scheduled to take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, April 24. The card is loaded and contains a main event for the UFC Welterweight Championship between current champion Kamaru Usman and the challenger Jorge Masvidal.
This will be the second fight in less than a year between the two men. Usman and Masvidal previously fought at UFC 251 back in July 2020. Their clash ended at 0:34 in the third round when Usman won via TKO to retain the welterweight title. Now, Masvidal will seek his revenge at UFC 261.
Unfortunately for Masvidal, his UFC 261 odds don’t look that great. According to Bovada, he’s the underdog entering the fight. Meanwhile, Usman is currently being favored to win at -375 odds.
UFC 261 Odds: Kamaru Usman (c) (18-1-0) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-14-0)
Odds via Bovada as of Friday, April 23
- Kamaru Usman (c) (-375)
- Jorge Masvidal (+285)
- Total Rounds: Over 4.5 (-200), Under 4.5 (+160)
Usman the Favorite Heading Into UFC 261
It’s really hard to bet against Kamaru Usman in any fight that he’s in. After all, he’s only lost one bout in his professional MMA career and that came all the way back in 2013. Since then, he’s won 17 fights in a row and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s also been the UFC Welterweight Champion since March 2019 and has successfully defended it four times against the likes of Masvidal, Gilbert Burns and Tyron Woodley.
In order to win at UFC 261, Usman’s going to do what he does best: break down his opponent. His slow, methodical style exists to tire out his opponents until they can’t properly stay at his pace.
To put this into perspective, in Usman’s last 10 fights, seven have gone the distance and the other three ended with a knockout. Masvidal already found it incredibly difficult to combat this style last year, but some of that could’ve been because of how hard he worked leading up to UFC 251 to make the weight. Regardless, Usman’s style has worked for him throughout his title reign. Until someone counters his style and puts his UFC Welterweight Championship in jeopardy, Usman will keep doing what works for him, much to the detriment of his opponents.
Can Masvidal Complete the Upset for the UFC Welterweight Championship?
As mentioned before, Jorge Masvidal is entering UFC 261 as the underdog. The 36-year-old has yet to win an official UFC championship in his career, but he’s going to try to change that in a few weeks.
One thing that could hold Masvidal back is the fact that he actually hasn’t fought since his last bout with Usman. Meanwhile, the champion has fought as recently as February of this year. Nevertheless, Masvidal is talented enough to handle his own. Up until that loss, he was on a three-fight winning streak and had just knocked Ben Askren out in five seconds, which is the quickest knockout in UFC history.
Now, whether or not Masvidal can knock Usman out at UFC 261 is another story. He’s going to want to avoid the fight going the distance. Masvidal has four losses in his last 10 fights and all have come via decision. Meanwhile, five of his six wins during that time were via KO or TKO. If he wants to be the next welterweight champion, Masvidal is going to want to finish Usman off quickly, which will be tough to do to a man who’s never been knocked out before.
Either way, Usman and Masvidal have the potential to put on a classic at UFC 261.