Taking main event honours as part of a championship tripleheader, welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman meets with BMF titleholder, Jorge Masvidal in a rematch of their UFC 251 main event last July on ‘Fight Island’.
Initially meeting last summer on just six day’s notice, Masvidal saw his three-fight winning spree halted by Usman via a largely one-sided unanimous decision loss.
In the time since, Masvidal has yet to compete, while Usman notched his third successful title defence in the form of a third round knockout win over Gilbert Burns in the main event of UFC 258 in February.
In the co-main event slot, strawweight champion, Zhang Weili attempts to score her second successful defence of the 115-pound title, as she matches with former gold holder, Rose Namajunas.
Weili returns for the first time since UFC 248 last March, where she defeated another former titleholder, Joanna Jedrzejczyk via a close split decision, in the consensus Fight of the Year.
For Namajunas, the Denver-based contender returns as the number-one contender off the back of a close split decision win of her own over another former champion, Jessica Andrade at UFC 251 in July, in a rematch win.
In the first of our title tripleheader, Valentina Shevchenko puts her flyweight championship on the line as she meets with the aforenoted former strawweight best, Andrade.
Shevchenko attempts to secure her fifth successful defence of the 125-pound title, having taken home a unanimous decision win over Jennifer Maia in the co-main event of UFC 255 in November.
For Parana native, Andrade, the former strawweight champion would become a two-weight champion with a win over Shevchenko, after earning her shot at gold via a first round knockout win over one-time title challenger, Katlyn Chookagian at UFC Fight Island 6 in October in her divisional bow.
UFC 261 Results: Usman vs. Masvidal II
Main Card: (ESPN+ 10 p.m. ET)
Welterweight: Kamaru Usman (c) def. Jorge Masvidal via second round (1:02) KO (strikes)
Strawweight: Rose Namajunas def. Zhang Weili (c) via first round (1:18) KO (high-kick and strikes)
Flyweight: Valentina Shevchenko (c) def. Jessica Andrade via second round (3:19) TKO (elbows)
Light Heavyweight: Anthony Smith def. Jimmy Crute via first round (5:00) TKO (doctor’s stoppage)
Preliminary Card: (ESPN/ESPN+ 8 p.m. ET)
Welterweight: Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira via first round (2:50) submission (rear-naked choke)
Welterweight: Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulic via split decision (29-28 x2, and 28-29)
Middleweight: Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson via first round (4:55) submission (heel-hook)
Featherweight: Patrick Sabatini def. Tristian Connelly via unanimous decision (30-27, and 29-28 x2)
Early Preliminary Card: (ESPN2/ESPN+ 6 p.m. ET)
Bantamweight: Danaa Batgerel def. Kevin Natividad via first round (0:50) TKO (strikes)
Lightweight: Kazula Vargas def. Rongzhu via unanimous decision (30-26, and 29-28 x2)
Flyweight: Jeffrey Molina def. Aoriqileng via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, and 29-27)
Strawweight: Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang via second round (1:28) TKO (strikes)