Though UFC 261 featured three championship fights, that fact was largely overshadowed in the lead-up by the idea that it also marked the promotion’s first event since the pandemic struck that a sold-out venue full of fans would be allowed in attendance. With the UFC 261 results now in the books, the fighters stole the limelight back.
UFC 261 results: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal
Kamaru Usman wanted nothing but to finish Jorge Masvidal in their headlining rematch. He did just that.
Usman opened with a crisp jab, stinging Masvidal throughout the first half of the first frame before Masvidal finally landed. In shades of his fight with Ben Askren, Masvidal launched a flying knee, but Usman caught him and tossed him onto the canvas.
Masvidal fought well off of his back, connecting with several hard elbows, and eventually escaped to his feet. Usman snapped his jab, but tried to go big with some wide punches that missed. Masvidal landed some solid leg kicks, but just missed with another flying knee attempt before the round wound down.
As round two got underway, Usman again missed with a big, wide swing, causing Masvidal to chuckle at him. Seconds later, Masvidal was eating that chuckle. Usman launched a right hand that rocked Masvidal’s head and sent him falling to the canvas.
Usman followed up with a couple hammerfists, but Masvidal was already out.
Though their first fight at UFC 251 went the distance, Usman did what he wanted to do in the rematch, which was to finish Masvidal in spectacular fashion.
“No disrespect, thank you to my man Jorge, you elevated me,” Usman said after the fight, holding his daughter in his arms. “He elevated me. He made me go to the wood shop. I’m still getting better. The sky is the limit.”
Rose Namajunas reclaims title with stunning Zhang Weili knockout
Rose Namajunas fought the perfect fight to reclaim the UFC strawweight title from Zhang Weili.
Zhang started strong, landing several inside leg kicks to Namajunas’s lead leg. Namajunas, however, was floating around the Octagon, darting in and out at various angles and with an ever-changing rhythm. Though Zhang landed a few kicks to the lead leg, they weren’t of the type that were mounting much damage.
A short time later, Namajunas timed Zhang moving in on her. She launched a lead-leg head kick that landed flush, sending Zhang onto her back.
Namajunas followed her to the canvas, landing a couple of hammerfists before the referee stepped in to wave off the fight.
Zhang returned to her feet after the fight was stopped, trying to argue that she should be allowed to continue, but was on wobbly legs as she did so. She was clearly shaken, not in the best form to continue.
“I did it again. But God did it. I really depended on Him,” Namajunas said after the fight. “I am the best.”
In the lead-up to the fight, Namajunas had made some comments about fighting against communism. Some of those comments were taken as a personal affront to Zhang. That was not the intent, according to Namajunas.
“I never meant to attack her as a person. I love all people from all cultures.”
Namajunas first won the UFC strawweight title by defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2017. She defended it in an immediate rematch before losing the belt to Jessica Andrade. After Andrade lost the championship to Zhang, Namajuas defeated the Brazilian before then taking the belt from Zhang on Saturday night.
The stars may have aligned for a trilogy bout between Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk, even though Namajunas holds wins in their first two fights.
Valentina Shevchenko dominates Jessica Andrade, defends UFC flyweight title
Valentina Shevchenko looked sharp in the latest defense of her UFC flyweight title. She started fast, snapping out a one-two combination that stung Jessica Andrade before twice taking her to the canvas.
Andrade regained her feet, but Shevchenko stung her again with another punch combination. Andrade tried to hold her against the cage, but Shevchenko again planted Andrade on the canvas. She quickly transitione dto Andrade’s back and attempted a rear-naked choke. Andrade escaped, but Shevchenko clung to her.
Again Andrade regained her feet, but Shevchenko punished her with knees before again taking her to the canvas for a total of five takedowns in round one.
Shevchenko quickly clinched and tossed Andrade to the canvas to start round two. Shevchenko worked shots to the body for nearly two minutes before they returned to their feet. Andrade had good position, but again, Shevchenko reversed the clinch and splashed Andrade on her back. Shevchenko locked Andrade in a crucifix, unloading with a brutal onslaught of punches and elbows until the referee was forced to stop the fight.
“I like to surprise people. I can do everything,” Shevchenko said when confronted with the idea that people were surprised that she chose to grapple with Andrade, who is generally a good grappler herself.
Having dominated nearly everyone in her path, Shevchenko is ready for whichever challenger emerges next.
“Everyone is asking to fight me. Here I am!”
Chris Weidman gruesomely snapped his shin, losing to Uriah Hall
The world cringed when Anderson Silva kicked Chris Weidman at UFC 168, his shin snapping and wrapping around Weidman’s leg. It was shocking to see the same thing happen to Weidman on Saturday night as his UFC 261 bout with Uriah Hall got underway.
Before the fight could even start to heat up, Weidman launched a low kick, connecting with Hall’s shin. Unfortunately for Weidman, flashing back to the Silva fight, his shin snapped and wrapped around Hall’s leg.
Weidman withdrew his leg and tried to place it on the canvas. There was no stability to hold him up; his lower leg bones were snapped in half. He crashed to the floor in agony.
Shocked, Hall walked to the opposite side of the Octagon and kneeled down.
Ringside medics placed Weidman’s leg in a compression cast. He was placed on a stretched and wheeled out of the arena.
“No matter what my rank in the future, if he gets well, I owe him this fight. I hope he can come back from it. You’re still one of the best, Chris,” Hall said after the fight, at first struggling to hold his composure.
Anthony Smith topples Jimmy Crute with crippling leg kick
Anthony Smith and Jimmy Crute played a game of chicken from the opening bell. Smith was banking on his stinging jab, while Crute was relying on his low kicks to the lead leg to get the job done. Both men were landing throughout the first round, waiting for the other to falter.
Near the end of the first round, Smith landed a kick that compromised Crute’s left leg and sent him to the canvas. In an instant, Crute rebounded with a takedown and swarmed Smith with a ground-and-pound onslaught. Smith briefly regained his feet, but Crute planted him on the canvas again before the round ended.
Crute was barely able to stand on his left foot as he returned to his corner. Before the second round could begin, the ringside physician asked Crute to walk forward. He wobbled; the doctor immediately recommended the fight be stopped.
Of course Crute was upset. He wanted to continue, but Smith, being the sportsman that he is, immediately met Crute across the cage and embraced him.
“Even at 32 years old, 51 fights in, I’m still getting better,” Smith said after the fight.
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UFC 261 Results
UFC 261 Main Card
- Main Event: Kamaru Usman def Jorge Masvidal by KO (punches) at 1:02, R2
- Co-main Event: Rose Namajunas def Zhang Weili by KO (head kick & punches) at 1:18, R1
- Valentina Shevchenko def Jessica Andrade by TKO (punches & elbows) at 3:19, R2
- Uriah Hall def Chris Weidman by TKO (leg injury) at 0:17, R1
- Anthony Smith def Jimmy Crute by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00, R1
UFC 261 Prelims
- Randy Brown def Alex Oliveira by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:50, R1
- Dwight Grant def Stefan Sekulic by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Brendan Allen def Karl Roberson by submission (kneebar) at 4:55, R1
- Patrick Sabatini def Tristan Connelly by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
UFC 261 Early Prelims
- Danaa Batgerel def Kevin Natividad by TKO (punches) at 0:50, R1
- Kazula Vargas def Rongzhu by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-26)
- Jeffrey Molina def Aoriqileng by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
- Ariane Carnelossi def Liang Na by TKO (punches) at 1:28, R2