UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 was a phenomenal event that I will never forget – I would say one of the best UFC events I’ve seen in a very long time. On the main card, all fights were won by T/KO with the longest bout going 3 minutes and 19 seconds into the second round. There were so many magnificent events on Saturday night, so if I had to choose three, I’d go with the Title bouts.
UFC Women’s Flyweight Title Bout: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade
For the first title fight this past Saturday, we had Jessica Andrade battling the Queen of the Flyweight division, Valentina Shevchenko. Entering the octagon that night, the UFC Odds were: Valentina Shevchenko -500 and Jessica Andrade +350 (Visit SBROdds.com for All UFC Odds).
I’ll tell you one thing, while Valentina entered the ring on Saturday, the overwhelming chants of “Val-en-tina” throughout the stadium simply brought chill to the bones. She is a living warrior and “Flyweight Queen”; simply a legend.
This fight began on its feet with Shevchenko keeping good distance and would throw her combos when she found an opening. Many times, Jessica Andrade (21-9-0) would try to get in close and Shevchenko would just hit her with a nice 1-2 and take her down to the canvas. Let’s say in the first round, Shevchenko managed 5 takedowns against Andrade and had control the entire time; Andrade would fight to get up, Shevchenko would dominate in the clinch, then bring Andrade right back to the ground.
In the second round, Andrade had to find her opening to rush in and get a strike against Shevchenko. However, it just opened her up to being tossed around again. Shevchenko managed to step into a side crucifix to unleash power elbows against Andrade. With 3 minutes and 19 seconds into the second round, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3-0) won via TKO.
Watching this fight was extremely moving and powerful – especially for Valentina Shevchenko. For my UFC Pick, I had Valentina Shevchenko to win Inside the Distance +125 via BetOnline (Visit our BetOnline Review). I am very curious to see who is up next to compete for the belt against the Queen. In my eyes, it will be a long time until we see her lose her throne.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Title Bout: Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas – Co-Main
The second title bout was for the UFC Women’s Strawweight belt with Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas. Well, this was yet another spine chilling, goosebump-giving fight – in a more simple term, emotional.
Rose Namajunas (11-4-0) made her walk to the octagon greeted by the roaring cheers of the crowd to compete against the Champion in Weili Zhang. It was quite moving – it made me emotional for her! Now, Weili Zhang (21-2-0) made her way to the octagon with a stadium filled with boos – this must have been quite unsettling for her.
This recap will be a quick one – both ladies began the fight simply reading each other. All Rose needed was one small opening, and BAM! Rose kicked Weili in the head with 1 minute and 18 seconds on the clock in round 1. Rose Namajunas became the NEW Women’s Strawweight Champion! She repeatedly told herself “I am the best!”, well she is the best! Entering this fight, the UFC Odds were: Weili Zhang -210 and Rose Namajunas +170.
UFC Welterweight Title Bout: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal – Main Event
To end this one-of-a-kind card, Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal (35-15-0) faced off once again to see who truly is the Welterweight Champion. Masvidal, being the born and raised Floridian, received a welcoming of love. It somewhat gave us hope that Masvidal might be able to redeem himself against Usman. But did that happen?
Coming into this fight, my UFC Pick was Kamaru Usman by Points -140 via BetOnline (Visit our BetOnline Review). Since Masvidal had not been knocked out since 2008 (against Rodrigo Damm in Sengoku – Third Battle), I put myself under the impression that Usman would not be able to get the knockout – Masvidal is tough to break! I expected him to dominate in the clinch once again just like their first fight.
But Kamaru Usman (19-1-0) proved to us all that he had been working on his striking skills. Throughout the first round, Usman made me nervous. He was throwing with so much that it almost came off as sloppy. However, in the beginning of round 2, Usman timed it perfectly to land a right hand that knocked off every single drop of water on Masvidal’s face – Usman knocked out Masvidal!!! Kamaru Usman defended his title belt once again and proved why he is the Champion of the Welterweight division.
Closing Remarks and What’s Next?
Besides the 3 Title bouts in UFC 261, there were many fights that were just completely unexpected. First, Anthony Smith leg-kicked Jimmy Crute and basically crippled his leg as he hit the nerve – Smith won via TKO in round 1. The Second was Uriah Hall vs. Chris Weidman, and let me tell you…this was an extremely graphic fight as Chris Weidman’s leg snapped in half (WARNING: Discretion is Advised in Chris Weidman Link) while Hall perfectly leg-checked him – truly gruesome and horrible what happened…yet awesome!? I guess that’s MMA for ya.
Coming up next, on Saturday, May 1st at the UFC Apex, we have UFC Fight Night: Dominick Reyes vs. Jiri Prochazka. This may not be another UFC 261 event, but it will still be a stacked card with many interesting fights to look forward to; featherweight: Giga Chikadze vs. Cub Swanson, bantamweight: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Cody Stamann, and more! Be sure to subscribe to SBR’s YouTube page and watch my ‘UFC Picks & Predictions’ with David Manyun and our special guests.