Three UFC championship belts will be on the line when the promotion welcomes fans back for UFC 261 on April 24 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to a highly anticipated rematch between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, Zhang Weili will put her UFC women’s strawweight crown on the line against Rose Namajunas. Earlier in the evening, UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko enters the octagon against the top contender in the division, Jessica Andrade.
|1st Fighter||2nd Fighter|
|Jorge Masvidal||3.65||1.26||Kamaru Usman|
|Rose Namajunas||2.50||1.51||Weilli Zhang|
|Jessica Andrade||3.95||1.23||Valentina Shevchenko|
|Anthony Smith||2.50||1.53||Jimmy Crute|
|Chris Weidman||1.87||1.87||Uriah Hall|
|Jeff Molina||1.91||1.83||Qileng Ahora|
|Karl Roberson||2.2||1.77||Brendan Allen|
|Na Liang||2.20||1.67||Ariane Carnelossi|
|Rodrigo Vargas||2.85||1.40||Zhu Rong|
|Kevin Natividad 2.20||2.20||1.67||Danaa Batgerel|
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at the best bets for each of the title fights scheduled for UFC 261. And if you are new to UFC betting, we recommend you take a few moments and read our page on how to bet on UFC.
UFC Welterweight Championship: Jorge Masvidal vs Kamaru Usman
Jorge Masvidal will have enjoyed considerably more time to prepare when he steps into the octagon to face Usman in the UFC 261 main event. The 36-year-old had just six days to prepare for his first meeting with Usman last summer at UFC 251 after Usman’s originally scheduled opponent Darren Till was forced to withdraw due to injury. Despite the short notice, “Gamebred” turned in a steady performance, going the distance before coming out on the wrong end of a unanimous decision.
The defeat ended an epic three-fight win streak, which featured Masvidal’s record-setting knockout of Ben Askren just five seconds into their clash at UFC 239, a third-round TKO win over Nate Diaz in their much talked about battle for the so-called BMF championship belt, as well as a second-round KO win over Till at UFC Fight Night 147 that earned the 36-year-old Miami native both performance of the Night and Fight of the Night bonuses.
Nigerian Nightmare Dominating the UFC Welterweight Division
While Masvidal returns to the octagon well rested and fully prepared, it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to prevent Usman from successfully defending his UFC welterweight title for the fourth time. “The Nigerian Nightmare” has been simply dominant since joining the UFC almost six years ago, posting a record-setting 13 straight wins against his fellow welterweights. Usman’s most recent outing came just two months ago at UFC 258 when he ended Gilbert Burns’ night with a third-round TKO on punches that earned him his second career Performance of the Night bonus. But while the 33-year-old Nigerian has seen two of his three title defences come inside the distance, it is his ability to steadily wear down opponents that have been key to his success.
— El Rocktagono (@elrocktagono) April 9, 2021
A former NCAA All-American and national wrestling champion, Usman has received the nod from the judges in nine of his 13 UFC wins. He has also seen five of his past six fights extend into the fifth round, with four of those contests going the distance. Usman looks to next Saturday’s fight as a heavy favourite, and with good reason. He has demonstrated his ability to dominate opponents both toe-to-toe and on the mat. However, the experience gained by Masvidal in last summer’s clash, as well as the opportunity to fully prepare this time around makes him worthy of a value bet to claim the title.
Pick Masvidal to pull off the upset and hand Usman his first defeat in eight years. A $20 wager will generously pay out $80.00 at Bodog.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship: Rose Namajunas vs Zhang Weili
Zhang Weili has taken the UFC by storm since joining the promotion in 2018. A dominating force while competing in Kunlun Fight, the 31-year-old has wasted no time climbing to the top of UFC women’s strawweight division. “Magnum” is undefeated in five Octagon appearances, including a crushing TKO victory over Jessica Andrade to claim the title just 42 seconds into their clash at UFC Fight Night 157.
Zhang Weili is now the fifth undisputed UFC strawweight champion after Andrade, Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk, and Esparza
— UFC News (@UFCNews) August 31, 2019
A native of Hebei, China, Zhang is accomplished in a number of disciplines, including Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sanda and a Chinese style of wrestling called Shuai Jiao. The wide array of skills has enabled her to successfully prepare for any style of fighting in which she may be forced to engage. That diversity is reflected in her sparkling 21-1 professional MMA record, which features 10 knockout wins and seven submission victories. However, Weili has also shown off her ability to go the distance, with two of her past three fights getting settled by the judges, including her narrow split decision win over Joanna Jędrzejczyk in her first title defence at UFC 248.
Thug Rose Fueled by Personal Animosity
Rose Namajunas has also seen her fight game evolve over a seven-year MMA career. A submission specialist early on, “Thug Rose” saw her brief reign as UFC women’s strawweight champion begins with a stunning first-round TKO win over Jędrzejczyk at UFC 217 and has gone the distance in two of her past three outings, capped by a split decision win over Andrade at UFC 251.
Rose Namajunas stands by her comments that opposition to communism is a motivating factor in her fight against champion Zhang Weili at UFC 261.
Zhang, who has not been known to publicly express her political beliefs, is UFC’s first and only champion from China. pic.twitter.com/M44ZdHYytd
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 14, 2021
In addition to her experience as champion, personal animosity will help fuel Namajunas in her bid to reclaim the title. The daughter of Lithuanian parents who were forced to escape Soviet rule, Thug Rose has been vocal about her hatred of communism and has tarred her Chinese opponent as a “red”.
Pick Zhang (1.50) to retain her title. A $20 wager at Bodog will return a payout of $30.
UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship: Jessica Andrade vs Valentina Shevchenko
A loser in each of her recent clashes with Zhang and Thug Rose, things will get no easier for Jessica Andrade in her bid for the UFC women’s flyweight belt.
— DATISHUAI (@datishuai) December 9, 2018
The 29-year-old has regularly dominated inferior opponents, but will likely find herself in over her head against Shevchenko, who has not been at risk of losing her championship crown in four straight successful title defences.
Pick Shevchenko (1.25) to retain her title. A $20 wager at Bodog will return a payout of $25.