UFC 261 is the card of all cards. Every once in a while the UFC loads up a card with three title fights. Unfortunately, not all the fights make it to fruits but this time is different. Usman vs Masvidal carries all the hype you would expect, Thug Rose vs Wei Li Zhang has bloodbath potential and Shevchenko vs Andrade is just a great matchup. Uncle Dana putting this event on with fans in Florida is another reason why this card is so important. It’s the first MMA event in North America with live fans in the arena. Lots of bets to play around wit here are my picks for the event.
Women’s Strawweight Championship
Thug Rose (10-4) vs Wei Li Zhang (21-1)
Thug Rose is the underdog at +165 and that doesn’t surprise anyone. Zhang has shown that she can trade while Rose is a proven brawler with a good ground game. Rose is an excellent boxer while training under striking guru Trevor Wittman. Look for Rose to use that job early and maybe win the first two rounds. Zhang is great striker and has excellent defense but usually loads up on her shots as a counter. This might play to Rose’s advantage with her superior boxing skills. I like Rose in an upset here and the +165 interests me.
Thug Rose by decision +400
Women’s Flyweight Championship
Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) vs Jessica Andrade (21-8)
Valentina Shevchenko is one of the scariest people I have ever seen in the Octagon. She puts together combos like we’ve never seen before. She dominates everyone she faces and it’s very hard for anyone to say she won’t steam roll Andrade. Andrade is a former champ and a great fighter in her own right, winning the Strawweight Title after slamming Thug Rose on her head. Andrade went on to lose her first title defense vs Zhang. There’s no way that anyone should put money on Andrade here, she is a fantastic fighter but is one dimensional. Her striking isn’t near the same level as Valentina’s and her ground game might be slightly better. This fight will most likely go to the ground where Valentina will rain punches and win via KO by Ground and Pound.
Shevchenko by KO +175
Men’s Welterweight Championship
Kamaru Usman (18-1) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-14)
As soon as Usman finished his former training partner Gilbert Burns, he wasted no time in calling out Jorge Masvidal. This is the second time these two beasts are fighting, the first meeting occurred when Masvidal accepted the fight on short notice and pushed Usman to a unanimous decision in favour of the champ. Usman played it safe last time because of the style change in opponents. Masvidal with a full camp might be a bit tough for Usman to handle this time. Usman gets tagged early in most fights. It always takes him a bout a round and half to get warm but, like we saw vs Colby Covington and Gilber Burns, Usman can get rocked. It’s his ability to push through and grind out the fight that makes him such a lethal fighter. Masvidal is like a shark in there, as soon as he smells blood, he’ll finish. It’s rare we see someone with the confidence and ability that Masvidal has to shut the lights off of his opponents.
Masvidal by KO +540
Usman by submission +1400 is interesting to slap a small unit on
A few other fun bets to make
Jim Crute vs Anthony Smith under 1.5 round +155
Tristan Connelly to win +200
Chris Weidman by decision +190
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