UFC 261 Betting Predictions
- UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is the -400 favorite to defeat Jorge Masvidal in their rematch at UFC 261 on Saturday, April 24th
- Usman scored a unanimous decision victory over Masvidal at UFC 251
- The co-main event sees UFC women's strawweight champ Zhang Weili as the -185 betting choice to defend her title against former titleholder Rose Namajunas
Assessing the UFC 261 picks, it's interesting to note how the career paths of UFC champions Kamaru Usman and Zhang Weili have followed similar trajectories. UFC welterweight titleholder Usman has won 17 fights in a row since a defeat in his second bout. Weili, the UFC women's strawweight champ, has recorded 21 successive victories since a setback in her first fight.
Both champions have taken on all challengers in their weight class, never ducking a fight.
Jorge Masvidal stepped in at the last minute to save the UFC 251 main event when a COVID-19 positive test prevented Gilbert Burns from facing Usman for the title. After Usman successfully defended his title with a unanimous decision over Masvidal, he promised that the challenger would be given another title shot.
Weili defeated Jessica Andrade to win the strawweight belt. Andrade took the title from Namajunas. When Namajunas defeated Andrade in a rematch at UFC 251, she became the No. 1 contender, earning a chance at Weili's title.
|Kamaru Usman||-400||+300||Jorge Masvidal|
|Zhang Weili||-185||+150||Rose Namajunas|
|Valentina Shevchenko||-400||+300||Jessica Andrade|
The champions are favored to win both fights. Usman is a -400 choice in the UFC 261 Vegas odds to again get the better of Masvidal. Weili is the -185 betting pick over Namajunas. As well, UFC women's flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko is listed at -400 in UFC betting to defend her belt against Andrade in a third title fight on the UFC 261 card.
Other bouts tentatively carded for UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. on Saturday, April 24th:
- Arlane Carnalossi (-150) vs Na Liang (+125)
- Brendan Allen (-135) vs Karl Robertson (+105)
- Danaa Batgerel (-150) vs Kevin Natvidad (+120)
- Jim Crute (-200) vs Anthony Smith (+160)
- Qileng Aori (-115) vs Jeff Molina (-105)
- Uriah Hall (-115) vs Chris Weidman (-105)
- Zhu Rong (-250) vs Rodrigo Vargas (+200)
Remember to read our guide if you have any doubts on how to bet on the UFC.
Kamara Usman (18-1) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-14)
Since Masvidal took his first match with Usman on such short notice, there's a constituency that believes he'll be a much more difficult opponent to overcome with a full slate of training to prep for the champ and that playing the upset here is the way to go in the UFC 261 picks.
Don't fall for that logic. Masvidal, 36, is a veteran campaigner who will certainly give a good accounting of himself in the octagon. However, he doesn't possess the wrestling acumen of Usman. According to UFC.com stats, the champion dominated their first fight. He held a 263-88 edge in strikes and a 94-66 advantage in signature strikes. Usman also carried a 5-0 edge in takedowns.
The champ is a much heavier favorite in the UFC 261 Vegas odds than the -270 odds he carried into the first bout. He'll cover again.
Zhang Weili (21-1) vs Rose Namajunas (9-4)
Not only has Weili won 21 fights in a row, but she's also earned 17 of those victories via stoppage. She's never been knocked out or taken down in her MMA career.
Namajunas appears to be swimming upstream against the UFC 261 odds. She's 4-2 over her past six fights and has been KO'd twice in her career. She won't be a pushover for the champ, but Zhang will emerge with the win.
Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) vs Jessica Andrade ()
Shevchenko has successfully defended her flyweight title four times. Her only losses in 15 bouts since 2011 are to Amanda Nunes, the best female MMA fighter in the world.
Andrade is 1-2 in her last three bouts. She's lost to three fighters who've been beaten by Shevchenko. As well, she's stepping up in weight class.
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