With all the noise around, UFC 261 really snuck up on us, which is crazy because it might be one of the most stacked UFC cards in history with three UFC title fights.
At the top of the map, a rematch between current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal.
in what was a fairly one-sided battle. But, given the fact that Masvidal took the fight on extremely short notice (and the fact that Masvidal is possibly the biggest draw in the division), this contest is still compelling. Masvidal showed flashes of a skill set that could trouble a wrestler like Usman. This fight could be close. Certainly much closer than in the first.
Perhaps the most exciting is the co-main event. Weili Zhang is the first Chinese UFC champion and her last fight – against Joanna Jędrzejczyk – was not only the best female fight in MMA history, it could be the best fight ever, period. The idea of her taking on former UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas is salivating. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another fight candidate of the year.
The third title fight pits one of the most dominant champions currently fighting in the UFC against one of its most famous buzzsaws. Valentina Shevchenko has looked totally indestructible in flyweight, but in Jessica Andrade she faces an ex-champ who will push and come forward no matter what.
It will likely be Shevchenko’s toughest title defense yet.
How to watch UFC 261
This year, the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. This is great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you are one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the United States.
In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 261, you’ll only find Fight Night on PPV via ESPN More. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options for watching UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN website:
- Existing annual ESPN Plus subscribers can order the next UFC fight for $ 70.
- Existing monthly ESPN Plus subscribers will either be able to upgrade to an annual plan and purchase UFC PPV for $ 85, or purchase the option to watch the UFC event on PPV for $ 70 on their own.
- New ESPN Plus subscribers can purchase a UFC (HD Streaming) PPV Event Bundle and ESPN Plus Annual Recurring Membership for $ 90. It’s a good thing. The previous bundle allowed a saving of 25%, but this new bundle represents a saving of 35%. The ESPN Annual ESPN Plus Membership will renew automatically after one year, at the cost of an ESPN Plus Annual Membership at the time of auto-renewal.
You can do all of the above at the link below.
MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 261 exclusively via BT Sport. There are more options if you live Australia. You can watch UFC 261 via Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or by using the UFC app on your Xbox.
Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN. Check out the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.
The schedule is relatively normal for a PDU. One thing to note is that the first foreplay starts 30 minutes earlier. It’s a beefy card.
- The main card begins April 24 at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).
- Preliminaries begin April 24 at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
- Preliminaries begin April 24 at 5:45 p.m. ET (2:45 p.m. PT).
- The main card starts April 25 at 3 a.m. GMT.
- Preliminaries begin April 25 at 1 a.m. GMT.
- The first preliminaries begin on April 24 at 10:45 p.m. GMT.
- The main card starts April 25 at 12 p.m. AEDT.
- Preliminaries begin April 25 at 10 a.m. AEDT.
- Preliminaries begin on April 25 at 7.45 am AEDT.
Complete battle card
Normal warning, given COVID-19 and the general chaos of UFC cards, this list could change at any time. We will keep this as up to date as possible.
- Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal
- Zhang Weili vs. Rose Namajunas
- Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade
- Uriah Hall vs. Chris Weidman
- Anthony Smith vs. Jimmy Crute
- Alex Oliveira vs. Randy Brown
- Dwight Grant vs. Stefan Sekulic
- Karl Roberson vs. Brendan Allen
- Patrick Sabatini vs. Tristan Connelly
- Danaa Batgerel vs. Kevin Natividad
- Kazula Vargas vs. Ronghzu
- Aoriqileng vs. Jeffrey Molina
- Na Liang vs. Ariane Carnelossi