One of the more anticipated UFC cards of the year is this Saturday, as UFC 261 sees a partial live crowd return to watching the action for the first time in the United States in nearly 14 months.
There are three championship fights on the card, including welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as he takes on Jorge Masvidal once again. These two fought last year on July 11th at “Fight Island” with Usman taking the unanimous decision victory. Masvidal took the fight on about a week’s notice, and did a drastic weight cut to get ready. He’ll have a full camp, and also no excuses, as he heads into a fight right up I-95 from his Miami home.
Weili Zhang is likely the most underrated of all the current UFC beltholders. But with 21-straight victories she has closed out the women’s division at 105 lbs. The latest challenger is No. 1 Rose Namajunas, who has won four of her last five bouts after splitting a pair against Jessica Andrade in 2019 and 2020. The Chinese national Zhang lost the first bout of her MMA career in 2013 and is undefeated since, including 5-0 in the UFC with two stoppages.
Moneyline betting splits
Kamaru Usman is the favorite to retain his belt at -435 at DraftKings Sportsbook, with just 43% of the action and 60% of the wagers on him. That has Jorge Masvidal as the +320 underdog, and getting 57% of the action and 40% of the tickets.
At -200, strawweight champion Weili Zhang is getting 67% of the action and 61% of the bets. That gives challenger and No. 1 ranked contender Rose Namajunas 33% of the dollars and 39% of the bets.
In the final championship fight, Valentina Shevchenko is a -455 favorite to keep her championship, getting 86% of both the action and bets in her bout with Jessica Andrade, who receives 14% of the handle and tickets.
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