After UFC 261, the table is set for Kamaru Usman – Colby Covington 2

This past Saturday at UFC 261, Kamaru Usman (19-1) defended his title against Jorge Masvidal (35-15). The fight was a rematch from last July when Kamaru Usman defeated Masvidal by decision on Fight Island.

That fight was put together on short notice and due to the way the fight went, both men wanted to run things back with a full camp. UFC 261 had a drastically different outcome but with the same winner.

To the surprise of many, Kamaru Usman knocked Masvidal out cold on the feet. Heading into UFC 261, everyone thought that Masvidal would have the striking advantage. However, Usman put him away doing what Masvidal does best.

With the Gamebred chapter closed, it’s on to another rematch for Kamaru Usman. Before last weekend’s PPV, Dana White said that Colby Covington (16-2) would be next in line for the UFC welterweight title. 

White reiterated these comments in his post-fight press conference. While Usman talked around the rematch, it’s clear that the fight between the two top welterweight is what’s next for the UFC.

When will the UFC make it happen?

White didn’t have a timeline for the UFC welterweight title fight, but Colby Covington has come out and said there is no reason to delay it. Usman came out of the fight last Saturday unscathed and Covington is ready to go.

Realistically, I think the UFC will put this fight together in either August or September and you can expect a heated buildup. In my opinion, these are the two best welterweights in the world and there first fight was extremely competitive.

Back at UFC 245 in December of 2019, these two met in the headliner. The fight was extremely close and watching it back, I had it 2-2 going into the fifth round. The judges had it 2-2, 3-1 Usman, 3-1 Covington.

The fifth round was going to decide the winner and Usman got the TKO to retain his welterweight title. Even if that stoppage doesn’t happen and Covington survives, Usman would have won a split decision at UFC 245.

I’m expecting the rematch to be just as competitive. Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns are really the only welterweights that I see giving Usman trouble. I don’t want to include Leon Edwards yet until I see him a bit more active. That said, the rematch between these two is going to be something to behold whenever the UFC gets it finalized.

After getting knocked out at UFC 261, what’s next for Jorge Masvidal?

This past Saturday at UFC 261, we got to see the rematch between Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (35-15) and Kamaru Usman (19-1). The two men ran things back after Usman won a decision last July at UFC 251.

Because the first fight was on short notice, there were a lot of questions around whether Usman could beat Gamebred when Masvidal had a full camp. Saturday night, we got the answer to those questions.

Going into UFC 261, the thought was that if the fight was on the feet, Masvidal would have a massive advantage. Masvidal has some of if not the best boxing in the UFC‘s welterweight division.

Usman of course is known for his grappling and his pressure. However, in recent fights, we’ve seen Kamaru Usman drastically improve his striking under new head coach Trevor Wittman.

At UFC 261, Usman was always one step ahead of Masvidal even on the feet. His straight shots were always landing first all night. Gamebred really couldn’t get anything going offensively outside of some decent leg kicks.

Just over a minute into the first round, Usman unleashed a right straight that sent sweat flying and Masvidal to the canvas. The UFC‘s BMF was knocked out cold in a manner that shocked everyone watching.

What’s next after UFC 261?

Make no mistake about it, Masvidal’s reputation and star power took a major hit on Saturday night. Obviously, Masvidal has lost a lot in his career and this won’t be the end, but it definitely takes a ton of steam off of him in getting knocked out like that.

In hindsight, Masvidal should have taken the UFC’s offer to coach TUF against Colby Covington. Even if Masvidal lost to Covington, he wouldn’t have lost in the fashion that he did on Saturday night.

Nevertheless, Masvidal got another UFC title shot and you can’t blame him for going after that. So the question becomes, what’s next for Masvidal? Well, I think for that we look at UFC 262.

In a few weeks, Nate Diaz (20-12) and Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) are co-headlining the card. I think you pair Masvidal with one of those two. If Edwards wins, I can’t see him taking the Masvidal fight now. He’ll likely wait for the winner of Usman/Covington.

So, I think the UFC should pair Masvidal with Nate Diaz whether he wins or loses or pair him with Edwards if he loses. Both of those fights would sell well considering the history that Gamebred has with both men.

While his star power took a hit, I don’t think this is the end for Masvidal. He is still definitely a draw and with the right pairing, I think the UFC will do very well the next time Masvidal is on the marquee.

Kamaru Usman knocks Jorge Masvidal out cold at UFC 261

In the main event of UFC 261, we saw the rematch the world has been waiting for. The welterweight champion of the world Kamaru Usman (18-1) took on Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (35-14). These two men first met last year at UFC 251.

That night Kamaru Usman walked away with a decision victory. However, the circumstances surrounding the matchup have created doubt in who is truly the better man. When 2020 started, the UFC was trying to book the welterweight title fight between Usman and Masvidal.

However, after contract negotiations went south with Masvidal, the UFC shifted to Gilbert Burns. A week before the fight, Burns tested positive for COVID and the UFC went back to Masvidal. The fight was on six days notice which has created a lot of doubt around the outcome of the first fight.

Could Kamaru Usman beat Gamebred when Masvidal has a full camp? These doubts and questions are why the UFC champion called Masvidal out after his last fight. Despite winning the first fight, Usman wasn’t happy with the decision. With that, tonight’s rematch came into focus.

UFC 261 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 261 main event started unsurprisingly with no touch of the gloves. Masvidal moves forward with pressure and takes the center of the cage. Usman looks to land his jab early. A couple of low kicks land for Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal very light on his feet early.

Usman pushes forward and lands a very solid right straight. Masvidal smiles but that was a big shot from the UFC champion. Solid body shot lands for Usman. Body kick and a left hook lands for Masvidal. Another big shot lands for Masvidal, but Usman lands a big takedown.

Halfway through the round and Usman goes to work inside Gamebred’s guard. Masvidal looking to land elbows from his back, but the pressure is heavy from Usman. Big elbow lands for Kamaru Usman. Masvidal lands some back elbows and uses the fence to stand up.

Masvidal is able to separate with one minute left. A huge right hand and power jab land for the UFC champion. Two huge leg kicks land for Masvidal. Masvidal blitzes and lands a couple of good shots. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Usman at UFC 261.

Round 2

The second round begins and Masvidal goes back to the leg kicks. The UFC champion appears to be trying to time a big shot early in the second. Another good kick for Masvidal connects. Masvidal swings wild and Usman counters with a massive right hand. Another huge right hand lands for Usman and Gamebred is out cold. Case closed, Kamaru Usman is the best in the world.

Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal by KO – Round 2

Rose Namajunas knocks Zhang Weili out at UFC 261

In the co-main event of UFC 261, the strawweight title was on the line. Undisputed champion Zhang Weili (21-1) was set to defend her title against the former champion Rose Namajunas (9-4). In the UFC‘s most stacked female division, these two are the best of the best.

Zhang Weili has been dominant since she joined the UFC just a couple of years ago. She rose right to the top and won the strawweight title with a knockout win over Jessica Andrade. Andrade was the one who took away the strawweight title from Rose Namajunas.

Namajunas battled issues outside the cage over the last few years. At one point, Namajunas wasn’t sure whether or not she wanted to continue to fight in the UFC. In fact, she said it was almost a relief when she lost the title to Andrade.

However, she’s found that fire again. Last year, she avenged her loss to Jessica Andrade to earn that shot at Weili. Weili hasn’t fought in almost a year, but the UFC strawweight champion was looking to show the world that she’s without a doubt the best at 115 pounds.

UFC 261 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 261 co-main event kicked off with no touch of the gloves as Namajunas was all business. Weili plots forward and starts the striking with a leg kick. Both ladies exchange big jabs and Weili follows with a nice leg kick. Good jab lands for the former champion.

Another good leg kick lands for the UFC strawweight champion. A massive headkick lands for Namajunas and this one is over. Thug Rose is the strawweight champion once again!

Rose Namajunas def. Zhang Weili by KO – Round 1

Valentina Shevchenko destroys Jessica Andrade at UFC 261

The first of three title fights at UFC 261 featured the women’s flyweight title. The undisputed champion Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) was taking on the former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-8). This title fight was flying under the radar but was massively anticipated on my end.

Jessica Andrade is finally competing in her natural weight class. When she broke into the UFC, she fought at 135 pounds because that was the only option. She was massively undersized and when the strawweight division opened, she dropped 20 pounds.

Andrade rose to the top and became the UFC‘s strawweight champion. However, the weight cut was always extremely difficult and after back-to-back losses at 115 pounds, Andrade decided to move up. In her first fight at flyweight, she stopped the number one contender in the first round.

While defeating the top contender is impressive, the UFC‘s flyweight champion is a different animal. The only person who has gotten the better of Shevchenko since she joined the UFC was Amanda Nunes. Nunes did it twice although, I thought Valentina won the second time.

Both of those fights were at 135 pounds. When the UFC opened the flyweight division, it was immediately known that it was going to be her weight class. Shevchenko was looking for her fifth successful title defense tonight at UFC 261.

UFC 261 Recap

Round 1

The UFC flyweight title fight kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Andrade looked to open the striking with low kicks, but was out of range. Shevchenko opens her striking with some strong kicks. The UFC champion lands a clean counter as Andrade looks to press forward.

A hard 1-2 lands for Shevchenko. Body kick lands for Jessica Andrade. Shevchenko gets a body lock off an Andrade kick and takes Andrade down immediately. Andrade pops back up to her feet, but the flyweight champion drags her right back down. Again, Andrade gets back up.

Shevchenko lets her go and throws a headkick on the break. A vicious combination lands for Valentina Shevchenko and the two go to a clinch. Andrade presses Shevchenko against the fence and starts working body shots. However, Shevchenko just uses her strength to throw Andrade down to the ground.

The UFC champion tries to lock in a rear-naked choke, but Andrade defends well. Dominance thus far for Valentina Shevchenko. Andrade uses the fence to work her way back up. Shevchenko is heavy on the clinch pressure and takes Andrade down before the round ends. Dominant round one for the UFC champion.

Round 2

The second round opens with some pressure from Andrade, but she’s popped with a couple of big shots from Shevchenko. The two clinch and the UFC champion slams Andrade to the ground. There is a massive strength difference between these two ladies and it’s very evident here in the first.

Shevchenko starts working her ground and pound on Andrade. Andrade tries to explode up and she works her way back to her feet. She pushes Shevchenko to the fence and tries to pick her up. However, the UFC champion wasn’t going anywhere.

Shevchenko gets Andrade back to the ground and ends up in the crucifix position. Massive elbows rain down from Valentina Shevchenko and Andrade is bloodied. The referee steps in and this one is over. Total domination from the champion.

Valentina Shevchenko def. Jessica Andrade by TKO – Round 2

Uriah Hall snaps Weidman’s leg with a checked kick at UFC 261

The second fight on the main card at UFC 261 featured a middleweight showdown. Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman (15-5) was looking to pick up his second victory over the talented Uriah Hall (16-9). These two men first fought on the regional circuit back in 2010.

That night, Weidman was able to get the TKO victory. That was just the third fight in the career of Weidman and we all know where his career went from there. He rose to the top of the world and starting with two wins over Anderson Silva, he was the UFC middleweight champion.

After Weidman defended his title successfully twice, he lost it to Luke Rockhold. The Rockhold loss started a downward spiral for Weidman. After losing several in a row, he jumped to light heavyweight for one fight. After getting knocked out there, he returned to the UFC‘s middleweight division last August.

While Weidman’s career has been heading more in a downward direction, the opposite can be said for Uriah Hall. With Hall, the issue has never been his talent. He has just as much talent as anyone in the UFC‘s middleweight division. “Primetime” just needs to be able to put everything together. He was riding a three-fight win streak coming into UFC 261.

UFC 261 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 261 middleweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Weidman looks to work his jab as the striking starts. One massive leg kick is thrown by Weidman and it’s checked. Weidman’s leg snaps and this one is over. Wow, hard to believe what we just witnessed.

Uriah Hall def. Chris Weidman by TKO (Leg Injury) – Round 1

Anthony Smith TKOs Jimmy Crute with a leg kick at UFC 261

Anthony Smith

Kicking off the main card of UFC 261 was a light heavyweight showdown between top fifteen contenders. Former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (34-16) was set to take on the surging Australian contender Jimmy Crute (12-1).

Originally, Crute was set to take on Johnny Walker. However, after Walker required surgery for an injury, the former UFC title challenger stepped up to fill his place. This is a big step up in competition for Jimmy Crute. A win over Lionheart would be massive for his career.

Entering UFC 261, Crute had back-to-back stoppage victories. Standing in his way of a third straight victory was Anthony Smith. Lionheart has gone through an interesting few years. It seems just like yesterday that he was challenging Jon Jones for the title.

Starting with the Jones loss, Smith went just 1-3 in his next for. In his last matchup, the UFC gave him Devin Brown. Lionheart got the first round stoppage and he’s looking to build more momentum. Defeating Jimmy Crute at UFC 261 would greatly assist him in his journey back to the top.

UFC 261 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 261 main card kicked off with a low kick from Crute. Smith was circling on the outside keeping his guard up early in the opening minute. Crute was trying to gauge the range with his jab and he lands a massive body kick. Smith counters with a nice stiff jab.

Another big jab lands for Lionheart. Low kick lands for Crute that Smith counters with a big left hook. A stiff jab from Smith wobbles Jimmy Crute briefly. However, he recovers almost instantly. Another big calf kick lands for Jimmy Crute, but Smith continues to work his jab.

The jab of Smith is a thing of beauty tonight and he lands two more. Crute’s nose is busted up from the jab of Lionheart. However, now Smith is getting hurt from the low kicks of Crute. Smith lands a massive right hand but Crute just eats it. Another big jab from lionheart.

Crute is doing damage to the legs, but Smith is busting his face up here in the first. A big kick from Smith lands to the leg and down goes Crute. However, Crute gets up and immediately lands a takedown. Crute starts landing bombs as the round comes to a close. 1-0 Lionheart after one here at UFC 261.

However, the doctor calls a stop to the action after Crute can’t walk. Leg kick TKO for Lionheart Smith.

Anthony Smith def. Jimmy Crute by TKO – Round 1

UFC 261 Preview: Anthony Smith – Jimmy Crute

Anthony Smith

Kicking off the main card at UFC 261 is a light heavyweight showdown between two top thirteen contenders. Former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (34-16) will be taking on the surging prospect from Australia, Jimmy Crute (12-1).

Crute enters tomorrow having won his last two UFC fights by first round stoppage. Those two wins followed his first career loss to Misha Cirkunov. The back-to-back wins have shown me a lot about Jimmy Crute as a fighter. He knows how to deal with adversity and he knows how to get back on track.

Originally, Crute was supposed to face off against Johnny Walker. However, Walker had to pull out of the fight and Crute is getting a big jump in competition. Instead of taking on another contender in a similar position as him, he’s getting a former title challenger at UFC 261.

Anthony Smith has had an interesting stretch since 2019. Smith had a shot against Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title and he came up short. Following that loss, he defeated Alexander Gustafsson. After defeating Gustafsson, Smith fought Glover Teixeira in May of 2020.

Had Smith won that fight, he would have likely fought for the title next. However, Smith lost that fight and then he lost another fight to Aleksandar Rakic. Following those two losses, the UFC gave him a step down in competition against Devin Brown. Smith got the first round finish and now he’s looking to pickup his second straight victory.

UFC 261 Prediction

If I’m being honest, the UFC 261 booking was a very risky one for Anthony Smith. Yes, he’s a company man and they needed him to step up, but this is a very dangerous fight for him against a guy ranked considerably lower. Jimmy Crute looks like he can be a problem at 205 pounds.

Crute can crack on the feet with the best of them and we’ve seen his impressive submission skills in the UFC. Overall, he looks much more polished than Anthony Smith does. However, it’s important that we don’t count out Lionheart just yet.

There isn’t a place in this fight where Smith won’t feel comfortable. He’s been in there with some of the very best that this sport has to offer so you know he’ll be game at UFC 261. That said, I don’t see him outstriking Crute and I don’t see him outgrappling Crute. I see a breakout performance from the Australian light heavyweight tomorrow night.

Prediction: Jimmy Crute by TKO – Round 3

UFC 261 Preview: Valentina Shevchenko – Jessica Andrade

The first of three title fights tomorrow night at UFC 261 will see the women’s flyweight title up for grabs. Former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade (21-8) is getting her shot at the UFC‘s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko (20-3).

After years of competing in the UFC, Jessica Andrade is finally in her proper weight class. When Andrade first joined the promotion, she was forced to fight at 135 pounds. Obviously, Andrade was drastically too small for that division.

When the UFC opened up the strawweight division, Andrade dropped 20 pounds to fight at 115 pounds. Andrade reached the top of the mountain when she knocked out Rose Namajunas to become the strawweight champion. However, her reign was short-lived after she was knocked out by Zhang Weili.

After losing a rematch to Rose Namajunas, Andrade decided to move up. In her first flyweight fight, she fought the number one contender, Katelyn Chookagian. Andrade stopped Chookagian in the first round which immediately made her the next in line to challenge for the UFC flyweight title.

Standing the way of Andrade winning her second UFC title is the flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko. You could make the argument that pound-for-pound and skill-for-skill that Shevchenko is the best in the world. Of course, Amanda Nunes is atop all P4P rankings, but she has an interesting history with the UFC flyweight champion.

Nunes has fought and defeated Shevchenko twice. However, I still believe that Valentina won the last fight between the two for the UFC bantamweight title. After the decision didn’t go her way, Shevchenko moved to her natural weight class at 125 pounds. Since then, she hasn’t been challenged and she’s looking to continue her dominance tomorrow night.

UFC 261 Prediction

Heading into this title fight at UFC 261, the narrative is all surrounding the power of Jessica Andrade. The pundits are saying that due to Andrade’s power and strength, she’s going to pose problems for Valentina Shevchenko.

Personally, I really don’t see the champion having issues tomorrow night. On the feet, Shevchenko is going to have the massive advantage. If this fight stays at striking range, the UFC flyweight champion can just pick apart Andrade from the outside. Her kicks are going to be huge tomorrow night.

Andrade needs to try and get this fight to the ground. Nunes was able to do that and we even saw Jennifer Maia have some success in one round against Valentina. However, I don’t think Andrade has it in her to control the UFC champion for at least three rounds tomorrow night.

Ultimately, I’m expecting another great performance for Shevchenko. I wouldn’t even be shocked to see her get a finish in the middle rounds. However, I’ll settle for picking her on points tomorrow night.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko by Unanimous Decision

UFC 261 Preview: Chris Weidman – Uriah Hall 2

Chris Weidman

The second fight on the main card of UFC 261 is a rematch in the middleweight division. Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman (15-5) is looking to pick up his second straight win as he takes on “Primetime” Uriah Hall (16-9).

These two originally met way back in 2010. The fight was just the third fight for Chris Weidman and he was able to pickup the TKO victory over Uriah Hall. Of course, we know that Weidman went on to become a UFC champion so there was no shame in Hall losing that matchup.

In 2015, Weidman had an argument as the best fighter in the world. He was unbeaten and he held two wins over the former GOAT, Anderson Silva. However, that is when Weidman ran into Luke Rockhold. Rockhold took his UFC middleweight title and kicked off an awful streak for Weidman.

Weidman went 1-4 in his next five with all four losses coming by knockout. Last August, Weidman returned to middleweight after a failed stint at light heavyweight. The former middleweight champion picked up a win and now he finds himself back in the UFC‘s top 11 at 185 pounds.

Tomorrow night, he’s taking on Hall who is currently ranked ninth. Hall will look to pickup his fourth consecutive win as he continues his march towards the top of the division. With Uriah Hall, there’s never been questions surrounding his talent. All the questions have surrounded his mental focus on fighting and the UFC.

Right now, Hall looks better than ever. This is an extremely important matchup for both men and whoever wins will be in an excellent position at 185 pounds.

UFC 261 Prediction

In looking at this UFC 261 matchup, it’s very important to remember that this isn’t 2010 anymore. This is not the same Chris Weidman and this is not the same Uriah Hall. For both men, the game plan is going to be very clear tomorrow night.

For Uriah Hall, he’s got to keep this fight standing. He will have the speed advantage on the feet and I don’t see Chris Weidman giving him much trouble on the feet. That said, I believe that Chris Weidman’s path to victory lies within his wrestling.

If he’s able to make this fight dirty tomorrow, he can easily grind out a decision. Whether it’s landing takedowns or working in the clinch, the former UFC champion has a clear path to victory. However, I don’t see him getting his hand raised tomorrow night. My faith in Weidman is nearly gone and he needs to win tomorrow to prove to me that he’s back. I think Hall gets it done and I’m not sure it goes the distance.

Prediction: Uriah Hall by TKO – Round 3