Kamaru Usman put the stamp on a wild and incredible night of action in the main event of UFC 261 Saturday night in Jacksonville.
Usman (19-1-0) successfully defended his welterweight title with a knockout of Jorge Masvidal just over a minute into the second round. Masvidal (35-15-0) started out confident, using kicks and strikes to try and keep Usman from the outside. Usman stayed composed, chipping away with overhand rights and a takedown to sap some of the strength of Masvidal.
In the second round, Usman connected on an overhand right that sent Masvidal out on his feet before he crashed to the ground. Follow-up strikes forced referee Herb Dan to call the contest at 1:02.
Usman earned his 18th consecutive victory and has not lost since May 2013. He defended the belt for the fourth time and is now expected to rematch Colby Covington, who watched cage side, in his next fight.
Masvidal was gracious in defeat, explaining that he was not expecting the knockout power that he saw from Usman. “Gamebred” was finished for only the second time in his career.
Usman and Rose Namajunas earned performances of the night, while Jeff Molina and Qileng Aoir earned Fight of the Night. Each fighter earned a $50,000 USD bonus.
UFC president Dana White confirmed in the post-fight press conference that No. 1 contender Colby Covington will be next for Usman.
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the card.
UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
NA LIANG VS. ARIANE CARNELOSSI
WINNER: ARIANE CARNELOSSI VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R2 1:28
ANDREWS PREDICTION: NA LIANG VIA UD
Andrews: Impressive display of footwork and power by Carnelossi to make it a dogfight and get the better of the taller Liang.
QILENG AORI VS. JEFF MOLINA
WINNER: JEFF MOLINA VIA UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: QILENG AORI VIA UD
Andrews: Aori was winning this fight with his pressure and then suddenly Molina turned it around and Aori stopped defending, which was a huge mistake. Experience in the octagon is a valuable thing.
KAZULA VARGAS VS. ZHU RONG
WINNER: KAZULA VARGAS VIA UD (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: ZHU RONG VIA TKO
Andrews: Rong wasn’t spectacular, but I thought he did enough to win.
DANAA BATGEREL VS. KEVIN NATVIDAD
WINNER: DANAA BATGEREL VIA TKO R1 0:50
Andrews: Wow! The check hook. Good win for Danaa.
UFC 261 PRELIMS
PATRICK SABATINI VS. TRISTAN CONNELLY
WINNER: PAT SABATINI VIA UD (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
ANDREWS PREDICTON: TRISTAN CONNELLY VIA SUBMISSION
Andrews: Sabatini was younger one in this fight and it showed.
KARL ROBERSON VS. BRENDAN ALLEN
WINNER: BRENDAN ALLEN VIA SUBMISSION (HEEL HOOK) R1 4:55
Andrews: Five seconds is a long time when you’re in a heel hook. Good win for Allen.
DWIGHT GRANT VS. STEFAN SEKULIC
WINNER: DWIGHT GRANT VIA SD (28-29 29-28, 29-28)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: DWIGHT GRANT VIA TKO
Andrews: The Body Snatcher got it, but just barely.
ALEX OLIVEIRA VS. RANDY BROWN
WINNER: RANDY BROWN VIA SUBMISSION (RNC) R1 2:50
ANDREWS PREDICTION: ALEX OLIVEIRA VIA SUBMISSION
Andrews: Wow! Excellent win by Brown.
UFC 261 MAIN CARD
#6 ANTHONY SMITH VS. #13 JIMMY CRUTE
WINNER: ANTHONY SMITH VIA TKO (DOCTOR’S STOPPAGE) R1 5:00
ANDREWS PREDICTION: JIMMY CRUTE VIA TKO
Andrews: Now the madness starts. Smith uses the calf kick to stop this one and halt Crute’s momentum. Good win.
#9 URIAH HALL VS. #11 CHRIS WEIDMAN
WINNER: URIAH HALL VIA TKO (DOCTOR’S STOPPAGE) R1 0:17
ANDREWS PREDICTION: CHRIS WEIDMAN VIA TKO
Andrews: Wow! Uriah wins without throwing a single strike, and then after beating Anderson Silva, beats Chris Weidman, the guy to first beat Silva in the UFC, while Weidman breaks his leg like Silva did against him in their rematch. A speedy recovery to Weidman.
VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO VS. #1 JESSICA ANDRADE
BEEN OUR QUEEN.
IS OUR QUEEN.
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
WINNER: VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO VIA TKO (ELBOWS) R2 3:19
ANDREWS PREDICTION: VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO VIA UD
Andrews: I thought Andrade would be more durable, but total domination vy Valentina.
ZHANG WEILI VS. #1 ROSE NAMAJUNAS
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
WINNER: ROSE NAMAJUNAS VIA TKO (HEAD KICK) R1 1:18
ANDREWS PREDICTION: ZHANG WEILI VIA UD
Andrews: Wow! Rose did it again. Joanna must have softened up Weili.
KAMARU USMAN VS. #4 JORGE MASVIDAL
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 25, 2021
WINNER: KAMARU USMAN VIA TKO R2 1:02
ANDREWS PREDICTION: KAMARU USMAN VIA UD
Andrews: Usman continues to steamroll his competition. Next stop, Colby Covington.