UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal- Main Card Prediction and Analysis

Published 04/22/2021, 11:19 PM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: Jorge Masvidal battles Kamaru Usman in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


The welterweight title will be on the line on Saturday as Kamaru Usman gears for war against Jorge Masvidal. The aforementioned scrap is the headliner for UFC 261, the first show to welcome fans back to the arena. 15,000 screaming fans will be in attendance at the Vystar Veteran’s Arena for the first time since UFC 248.

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Usman and Masvidal squared off once before where ‘Gamebred’ lived up to his nickname and accepted a short-notice fight. He came in place of Gilbert Burns on merely 6-days notice after ‘Durinho’ tested positive for COVID-19. Chiefly, the short-notice nature of the first affair is a driving force behind the second booking of Usman vs Masvidal.

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UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal

The Nigerian Nightmare’ is making a quick turnaround from his last outing at UFC 258, where he TKOed Gilbert Burns. Usman showcased a significant elevation to his striking and has become a force to be reckoned with in the cage. Additionally, he overcame adversity against Burns and bounce back with devastating weapons like a push jab that proved to be extremely effective.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: (R-L) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria punches Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Kamaru Usman’s straight jab has become the newest tool in his arsenal after working extensively with coach Trevor Wittman. Usman’s wrestling is firmly established, however, it’s the marriage of wrestling and stand-up which is essential. He’ll have to be wary of Masvidal’s resourcefulness, especially in the initial rounds.

While the champion has stayed busy since the fight, Masvidal’s last outing in the cage was all the way back in July. There are several takeaways from his UD loss to Usman, as he was quite effective in the defensive grappling department. However, Usman’s clinch proved to be too overbearing over the course of 25 minutes and the BMF would have made some adjustments.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: (R-L) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria takes down Jorge Masvidal in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Jorge Masvidal’s explosiveness always gives him the edge over his opponent, as he can keep them guessing. Furthermore, he’s crafty in tight spaces and Kamaru Usman will have to be wary of his power in close range. Masvidal’s biggest weapon would be the usage of clinch strikes early to dissuade ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ from getting in close.

Prediction: Kamaru Usman to claim a unanimous decision victory

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Darryl Pinto

1450 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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