UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal Fight Picks


Believe it or not, UFC 261 will take place in a sold-out arena in front of 15,000 fans. The card welcoming fans back into attendance is stacked with 3 title fights, capped off with the rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. A fight for the ages in the making. 

Kamaru Usman (-400) vs Jorge Masvidal (+300)

While the first meeting between these two wasn’t a fair sample size to go on, there’s much to be taken away from the first meeting. Masvidal took it on very short notice and flew to the other side of the planet on a whim. He wasn’t properly prepared, and still made a fantastic account of himself all things considered. Both guys are well-rounded, but at the core, this is a striker that was a grappler match-up.

As Usman has proven time and time again, he’s the type of grappler that loves to strike, and he’s damn good at it too. He holds the power advantage, but it’s Masvidal who has the greater skills on the feet. The grappling advantage unquestionably goes to Usman, and on the right day, the champ has the ability to win the war on the feet against Masvidal as well. 

At the end of the day 

The fanduel odds are out to lunch on this one, Usman should be a favorite, but not by a margin this wide. The heavy-handed Usman knows will land on Masvidal, and if he chooses, can wear heavy on him in the grappling department both standing and zapping the BMF’s cardio in the process. But at these odds, you have to do with Masvidal, just based on the fact that these two being way more evenly matched than the odds will tell you. 

Pick: Jorge Masvidal 

Valentina Shevchenko (-400) vs Jessica Andrade (+300)

The fanduel odds on the fight between Shevchenko and Andrade are also a little high, but it’s understandable. Andrade is one of the best women’s fighters in the game and has been for quite some time. An absolute bulldog who likes to come forward swinging wild and loopy punches with fight-ending intentions. That approach has worked great for her against the past competition, but will not work to her advantage against someone with the technical striking prowess of a Shevchenko

At the end of the day 

Andrade is a warrior, but she is also predictable. She has just the type of striking style that is going to play to the advantage of Shevchenko in a big way. The champion throws her strikes straight down the pipe and will be able to split the defense of Andrade often. The champ also has a big size advantage that will allow her to absorb damage , and muscle Andrade around in the grappling exchanges.

Pick: Valentina Shevchenko

Weili Zhang (-192) vs Rose Namajunas (+154)

The fanduel odds in this fight are close, and should probably even be closer. Zhang has proven to be an extremely physically strong strawweight, it seems like anything thrown her way, she will just trudge forward regardless with an answer. Rose is not just one of the most technical strikers in women’s MMA, she’s one of the most technical strikers in MMA period. She’s far more dynamic than the champion, with great angles, footwork, and head movement, coupled with beautiful punching and kicking technique. The former strawweight champion is primed to win her title back.

Zhang may be both tougher and stronger than Rose, but in the striking realm, she’s inferior technically speaking. Should this fight remain upright, and should Rose show up in the right state of mind, stylistically this fight has Rose’s name all over it. If she can stay out of trouble early, she’ll eventually find her rhythm and land more often than the champion.

At the end of the day  

Should the fight hit the mat, Rose is crafty enough to find the submission or sweep. If she can’t find either, she will be able to accept the bottom position but minimize damage taken. She may lose a round or two this way, but the active footwork and angels she uses in her attacks will be effective with a striker like Zhang. She’ll eventually start pulling away and earn the title back in the process.

Chris Weidman (-110) vs Uriah Hall (-110)

Although most of Weidman’s losses have come against top-flight competition, there is still something about the way that he has looked over the past few years that doesn’t instill confidence when it comes to making a trip to the window to lay down a fanduel bet against Uriah Hall. Weidman is dangerous on the feet because he has a deceptively long reach for middleweight standards, which tends to work in his favor. But if Uriah Hall is on, Weidman is going to be too slow and predictable to hang with him on the feet. If the former middleweight champion can implement his game plan and clinch up with hall and dirty boxing, it’ll make for an interesting contest .

At the end of the day

Based on where these fighters are at in their careers in right now, it’s surprising the fanduel betting odds don’t have Hall as a favorite. As talented as Weidman is, he was never really the same after the loss to Rockhold. Motivation has seemed to have waned, and the performances have been progressively worse. Whereas Hall has been up and down a lot over the years, he seems to be hitting a good stride right now, and when Hall is firing on all cylinders, he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. A little too dangerous for Weidman at this juncture.

Pick: Uriah Hall

Anthony Smith(+168) vs Jimmy Crute (-210)

Crute is as tough as nails and deserving of a fight against a name opponent like Anthony Smith. Crute is aggressive, powerful, and has no qualms about stepping right into a firefight and letting the chips fall where they may. However, he has never fought anyone like Smith, it’s a big step up in competition.

At the end of the Day 

Smith has 50 professional fights to Crute’s 13. Smith has fought, Jon Jones, Glover Texiera, Alexander Gustafsson, Rashad Evans, and the list goes on. The odds makers are tricked by the fact that Smith has been a little touch and go lately. But the disparity in experience and overall skills between the two has the fanduel underdog pick as the move to make, all day. 

Pick: Anthony Smith

UFC 261 is stacked on paper, but what’s most important is that the fans are back. Even if all the big fights ending up being a dud, this is a historical event. The fact that it’s capped off with Usman vs Masvidal, in Masvidal’s backyard of all places. The main event under these circumstances has all of the makings of one spectacular result.  

Are you ready to make your fight picks? Head over to fanduel and enter the fight night contest for this weekend!

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