Ladies and gentlemen, fans are back in the stands for UFC 261 in Jacksonville, and what a perfect card to GET THE PEOPLE GOING!
Women’s Flyweight Championship Belt
Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko (1X) vs Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (1.6X)
You know you have a stacked card if you are starting off with a big fight like this. Andrade has racked up some wins in her last five fights, including going 1-1 with Rose Namajunas and falling to Weili. She has been fighting the best gals in the Strawweight division and since moving up her power has translated making her a SCARY fighter for Valentina to tussle with.
Now, I think Andrade is going to try and take Valentina to the ground (GOOD LUCK) and make this a dirty fight. For Valentina, she has to use the reach and height advantage to keep her distance and pick her shots to pop off. She has great takedown defense (75%) and absorbs fewer strikes per minute (2.03) than Andrade which translates to better defense. I think this is a very scary fight if you take Valentina, but have faith and ride it out!
Women’s Strawweight Championship Belt
Zhang “Magnum” Weili (1.15X) vs. Rose “Thug” Namajunas (1.45X)
THIS IS WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT! This could be the best, most exciting fight on the card. Sometimes two women match up so well for a slobber-knocker of a fight, hold on to your seatbelts folks.
Let’s break it down: Weili is a savage. Period. If you watched her last fight with Jedrzejczyk you were not disappointed. She has the power, technique and grappling skills to handle anyone in this division. This was evident in the fight with Andrade when she went toe-to-toe with someone who had one-punch power. On the other hand, Rose gets a redemption fight. She got her redemption with Andrade after being knocked out and she came back FIRING. Namajunas has 60% defense against strikes and absorbs slightly fewer strikes than Weili on the feet (3.98 vs. 4.43).
I think that Rose is a bad match for Weili and I think she can pull the upset if she picks her spots and avoids the big punches. Pick Thug Rose with this multiplier and ride this out if it goes to a decision.
Men’s Welterweight Championship Belt
Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (1X) vs. Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (1.6X)
I lied, THIS IS THE ONE PEOPLE WANT! Be ready for a spectacle with fans in the building again with Masvidal being back in FL. However, I don’t picture this being an exciting fight once we get down to it. Usman is the most dominant champ that the UFC has right now and how does he do it, CONTROL TIME. Whether it is on the ground or up against the cage, Kamaru puts his weight on his opponent and sucks the life out of him. In order for Masvidal to pull this off, he is going to have to catch Usman with an early punch (or flying knee – sorry Askren for bringing it up again) before he is taken down. Ride with Usman even though his multiplier is low, he is worth the value with the takedowns and control time. AND STILL!!
Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (1.45X) vs. Jimmy Crute (1.15X)
This could be a sad fight for the fan-favorite, Anthony Smith. Smith is 2-3 in his last 3 fights and they have not been great performances. He is going to have his hands full with Crute who is a great, all-around fighter in the 205Lbs division. Crute displays more strikes landed per minute (4.36) and WAY better grappling with averaging 4 takedowns per 15 minutes. You can’t sleep on Lionheart but the numbers and past fights seem to point for another win for Crute and I’ll take that with his multiplier for the diversity of points he can put up.
Who do you think wins the belts this weekend with fans back in the building? Let us know in the comments!
This article expresses the personal views of the writer and does not reflect the view(s) of SuperDraft in any way.