UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal II will air on April 24, 2021, in Jacksonville, Florida.
Early Preliminary Card (Fight Pass/ESPN+)
JAMEY “THE AFRO SAMURAI” SIMMONS (7-3-0) vs JOHNNY “KID KVENBO” MUNOZ JR. (10-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the bantamweight division. Simmons brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Munoz brings striking, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Simmons will look to try to keep the fight standing and keep Munoz at bay. Munoz will go in for a takedown and be able to bring Simmons to the ground. Simmons will fight to get back to his feet, but Munoz’s judo and jiu-jitsu will make it impossible. Simmons will try using his jiu-jitsu, but it won’t be enough to stand against Munoz. My prediction: Munoz wins via submission in Round 1.
NA “DRAGON GIRL” LIANG (15-4-0) vs ARIANE “SORRISO” CARNELOSSI (12-2-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s strawweight division. Liang brings striking, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Carnelossi brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Carnelossi will be throwing strikes all over Liang with hopes to finish the fight early. Liang will take a few hits, but she will withstand most of Carnelossi’s attacks. Carnelossi will then leave herself open allowing Liang to take her to the ground. Once on the ground, Liang will use her judo and jiu-jitsu combinations to make quick work of Carnelossi. My prediction: Liang wins via submission in Round 1.
QILENG “MONGOLIAN MURDERER” AORI (18-6-0) vs JEFF “EL JEFE” MOLINA (8-2-0)
This is a three-round fight in the flyweight division. Aori brings striking and grappling. Molina brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Aori looks to keep the fight standing and unleash as many strikes as she can. She does have better striking, but she lacks grappling. With little grappling, Molina will be able to take quick advantage of Aori. She will bring her to the ground and keep her there. Aori will try to desperately get back to her feet. She will not be able to get around Molina’s jiu-jitsu. My prediction: Molina wins via submission in Round 2.
RODRIGO “KAZULA” VARGAS (11-4-0) vs ZHU RONG (17-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Vargas brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Rong brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both are similar in style; Rong appears to be more athletic. He will be able to land more strikes and pace himself better. Vargas will be able to keep up with him for the first half of the fight. He will slow down in the second half. Rong will not slow down and keep attacking Vargas until the final bell. My prediction: Rong wins via unanimous decision.
DANAA BATGEREL (8-2-0) vs KEVIN “QUICKSAND” NATIVIDAD (9-2-0)
This is a three-round fight in the bantamweight division. Batgerel brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Natividad brings striking, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Both are great grapplers; Natividad is much better. His combinations of judo and jiu-jitsu will cause major trouble for Batgerel. Batgerel will try to use his jiu-jitsu to defend, but it won’t be enough. Natividad will be able to counter Batgerel’s jiu-jitsu while using ground-and-pound to weaken Batgerel. My prediction: Natividad wins via submission in Round 2.
Preliminary Card (ESPN/+)
PATRICK SABATINI (13-3-0) vs TRISTAN “BOONDOCK” CONNELLY (14-6-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Sabatini brings striking, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Connelly brings striking, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Both are just about even in style; Sabatini is better with his pacing. He will maintain a steady pace while Connelly will begin to slow down as the fight progresses. Connelly will look for an opening, but Sabatini will keep his defense up. My prediction: Sabatini wins via unanimous decision.
KARL “BABY K” ROBERSON (9-3-0) vs BRENDAN “ALL IN” ALLEN (15-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the middleweight division. Roberson brings kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. Allen brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both can grapple; Roberson is a better striker. His kickboxing will give Allen a tough time right away. Allen will try to go for a takedown, but won’t be able to get past Roberson’s striking. Roberson will keep throwing strikes until Allen goes down for the count. My prediction: Roberson wins via knockout in Round 1.
DWIGHT “THE BODY SNATCHER” GRANT (10-3-0) vs STEFAN SEKULIC (12-3-0)
This is a three-round fight in the welterweight division. Grant brings Kung Fu and jiu-jitsu. Sekulic brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both are almost identical with techniques; Grant seems to be better with his striking. His Kung Fu will give him efficient striking with both speed and power. Sekulic will do all in his power to bring Grant to the ground. Grant will manage to keep the fight standing. Sekulic will then try to put pressure on Grant by charging him, but Grant will avoid him. My prediction: Grant wins via unanimous decision.
ALEX “COWBOY” OLIVEIRA (22-9-1, 2 NC) vs RANDY “RUDEBOY” BROWN (12-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the welterweight division. Oliveira brings kickboxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu. Brown brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. Oliveira is tough and will be throwing heavy hands at Brown. Brown will be able to withstand Oliveira’s power and throw his attacks in return. Oliveira will begin to feel the burn early and try to back away from Brown. Brown will push forward and attack Oliveira with full force until Oliveira can take no more. My prediction: Brown wins via TKO in Round 2.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View – ESPN+)
#6 ANTHONY “LIONHEART” SMITH (34-16-0) vs #13 JIM “THE BRUTE” CRUTE (12-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the light heavyweight division. Smith brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Crute brings boxing, karate, judo, and jiu-jitsu. Smith looks to use his experience to take advantage of Crute early on. Crute will be cautious and keep his distance. He will attack Smith with clean strikes all while avoiding many of Smith’s attacks. Smith will then try to bring the fight to the ground. He will end up getting caught by Crute’s attacks. My prediction: Crute wins via knockout in Round 2.
#9 URIAH “PRIME TIME” HALL (16-9-0) vs #11 CHRIS “THE ALL-AMERICAN” WEIDMAN (15-5-0)
This is a three-round fight in the middleweight division. Hall brings kickboxing, karate, and jiu-jitsu. Weidman brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is a former middleweight champion. Hall has made great improvements since their last encounter and looks to give Weidman a true beating. However, Weidman seems to have gained his momentum back and will not let Hall off so easily. He will attack him with precision before bringing him to the ground. There he will use his wrestling to decimate Hall until Hall can no longer defend himself. My prediction: Weidman wins via TKO in Round 2.
(C) VALENTINA “THE BULLET” SHEVCHENKO (20-3-0) vs #1 JESSICA “BATE ESTACE” ANDRADE (21-8-0)
This is a five-round fight for the women’s flyweight championship. Shevchenko brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, judo, taekwondo, and judo. She is the current champion. Andrade brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu. She is a former strawweight champion. Andrade is tough and will be throwing hands at Shevchenko. Shevchenko will have a little trouble avoiding Andrade’s power. However, Andrade is not as fast nor does she have much reach. Shevchenko will be able to keep her distance from Andrade while landing clean efficient strikes. Andrade will grow frustrated and try to unload on Shevchenko. This will leave Andrade open giving Shevchenko the perfect opportunity to put Andrade away. My prediction: Shevchenko wins via knockout in Round 3.
(C) WEILI “MAGNUM” ZHANG (21-1-0) vs #1 ROSE “THUG” NAMAJUNAS (9-4-0)
This is a five-round co-main event for the women’s strawweight championship. Zhang brings boxing, judo, and jiu-jitsu. She is the current champion. Namajunas brings kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. She is a former strawweight champion. Zhang is one of the toughest champions on the roaster thanks to her striking power. She holds so much power Namajunas looks to be in major trouble. Namajunas is not a fighter to predict her every move. She always changes her game plan up and will be throwing plenty of hands at Zhang. Zhang will start to have trouble finding an opening as Namajunas throws heavy and fast hands at her. However, Zhang will be able to land a few good hits on her which will be enough for her to gain control of the fight. Enough control to where she can keep Namajunas under pressure until the final bell. My prediction: Zhang wins via unanimous decision.
(C) KAMARU “NIGERIAN NIGHTMARE” USMAN (18-1-0) vs #4 JORGE “GAMEBRED” MASVIDAL (35-14-0)
This is a five-round main event for the welterweight championship. Usman brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is the current champion. Masvidal brings boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling. In this rematch, both are looking to show just how much they have improved since their last meeting. Masvidal always brings surprises and will be looking to give Usman a better challenge than before. However, Usman’s striking power has become more efficient and loaded with more power. He will be able to cause more damage to Masvidal while maintaining full control. Masvidal will look for sneak attacks, but Usman will be too smart for Masvidal to try any. Usman will be more aggressive and prove once again why he is the best in the division. My prediction: Usman wins via unanimous decision.