Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is officially set to defend his belt in a rematch against Jorge Masvidal. The highly anticipated bout will take place on April 24 and will be the main event of UFC 261.
The two met in the very first headlining fight at the illustrious Fight Island. The fight only came to fruition because Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and was scrapped from the bout, leading to Masvidal accepting the fight on just six days’ notice. Although Usman won a unanimous decision (with two judges scored a 50-45), Masvidal proved he was able to go the distance against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC.
Many believed Masvidal was at an unfair disadvantage from accepting the fight on short notice and believe he would have fared better with a full training camp. Combining that narrative with his immense popularity, Masvidal, who has not competed since his loss to Usman, was given the next shot at gold.
The fight will be held at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Dana White recently announced that the UFC will soon be able to host a fight card in Florida with a full house of fans. This will be the first UFC event with a full audience since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic.
To celebrate this, White and the matchmakers have put together a great fight card that includes three title fights. In addition to Usman-Masvidal, the card features Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade for the Women’s Flyweight belt, and WeiLi Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas for the Women’s Strawweight title.
UFC 261 is shaping up to be a fantastic fight card with some intriguing fights and fun matchups. It will also be very refreshing to hear a sold out crowd supporting the fighters just like the old days.