UFC 261 went down last night (Sat., April 24, 2021) inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., featuring a packed house of fans who were treated to three incredible title fights and an all-around wild night of fights. In the main event, Kamaru Usman once again retained his Welterweight title by defeating Jorge Masvidal via devastating knockout (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Rose Namajunas reclaimed the women’s Strawweight title by stunning Zhang Weili in the first round via knockout (video here). Also, Valentina Shevchenko once again proved why she is one of the most dominant champions ever, handling Jessica Andrade with ease on her way to a second round technical knockout (video replay here).
Biggest Winner: Kamaru Usman
Usman put the final nail in the coffin in his rivalry with Masvidal, putting him to sleep with one of the cleanest knockouts you will ever see — a thunderous right hand that cracked “Gamebred” on the sweet spot, putting him out for the count and making the follow up shots
super necessary unnecessary to seal the deal. With the win, “Nigerian Nightmare” wins his eighteenth straight fight, fourteenth inside the Octagon and earned his fourth consecutive title defense. While he isn’t near George St-Pierre as far as title defenses go, he’s inching closer (five more needed to tie). Nevertheless, Usman is doing his part to carve out his own piece in UFC’s history books. The scary part about his progression is that it seems he is only getting better and shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever. And he is just 33 years old, which should be worrisome for the entire Welterweight division.
Runner Up: Rose Namajunas
When Namajunas wins UFC titles she does it in style. And she did just that when she reclaimed the women’s 115-pound title by delivering a thunderous head kick knockout over the now-former champion, Zhang Weili. It was reminiscent of the first time she tasted UFC gold, knocking out Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217 in Nov. 2017 to win the Strawweight belt. Now that she’s on top of the division again, “Thug Rose” looks to hold on to it longer than one title defense like she did the first time. For now, Namajunas — who came into the fight as a big underdog — can enjoy her upset victory over Zhang, who hadn’t lost in seven years and 21 fights. “Thug Rose” improves to 5-1 in her last six outings and will now get to call the shots once again as the queen of the Strawweights.
Biggest Loser: Jorge Masvidal
“Gamebred” talked up a good enough game to earn a rematch and second title fight against Usman after getting handled at UFC 251, using the fact that he didn’t get a full training camp ahead of their first fight as his main argument. Unfortunately for the “BMF” title holder, the extra weeks of training didn’t help at all, losing more convincingly the second time around thanks to Usman’s well-placed right hand, giving him the first knockout loss of his career. The loss pretty much throws his much-desired fight against his former training partner Colby Covington out the window, and halts his UFC championship dreams for a while seeing as how it is second straight championship loss. He also has no more room to talk in his now-dead rivalry with Usman. It’s fair to assume we might not see Masvidal for a bit since he will probably wait to see how the 170-pound division plays out over the remainder of this year before he decides who to agree on fighting next. That said, props has to be given to the former backyard brawler for handling his loss to the champion with class inside the Octagon.
For complete UFC 261 results and coverage click here.