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UFC 261 returns to Jacksonville with live, full crowd for ‘Usman vs Masvidal 2’ on April 24

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“Featuring three championship title fights.”

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, dropped a huge fight announcement earlier today (Mon., March 15, 2021) after booking a rematch between current Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, and “BMF” title holder, Jorge Masvidal.

The rematch will take place at UFC 261 inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., on April 24, 2021. To make it even sweeter, White revealed that for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down professional sports more than one year ago, the promotion will have a packed house of fans in attendance.

Take that, Texas.

Naturally, White and Co. wanted to stack the deck for its first fan-filled pay-per-view (PPV) event since UFC 248, so the co-main event will feature a women’s Flyweight title fight between division queenpin, Valentina Shevchenko, taking on Jessica Andrade. UFC 261 will also feature a third title fight when Weili Zhang defends her women’s Strawweight title against former division champion, Rose Namajunas.

White was determined to have UFC become the first sports organization to have a sold out arena during the COVID-19 pandemic ... and it looks like he is about to deliver on that promise. Choosing Jacksonville as the host city isn’t a surprise, really, because “The River City” was the first to allow the promotion to stage an event soon after the pandemic hit, with UFC 249 going down in May 2020.

Usman initially defeated Masvidal at UFC 251 in July 2020 via unanimous decision in a fight “Gamebred” took on super short notice after Gilbert Burns bowed out after testing positive for coronavirus. Since then, Usman has gone on to defend his title against Burns, while Masvidal has been campaigning for a do-over. He will finally get his wish nine months after their first bout.

Any of you planning on making the trip down to sunny Florida to get your UFC on in person?