Three Championship bouts top action-packed lineup
Women’s Championship bouts feature four current and former Champions
- Main Card starts at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV
- Prelims on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET
- Early Prelims on ESPN2, ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET
- UFC Live and UFC Countdown on ABC kickoff Saturday coverage at 3 p.m. ET
- To sign up or purchase PPV, visit com/ufc
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 will stream exclusively on ESPN+ PPV this Saturday, April 24, at 10 p.m. ET from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. The UFC 261 main card features three Championship bouts, topped by the highly-anticipated UFC welterweight rematch between champion Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (18-1-0), defending his title in a against No.4-ranked contender Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (35-14-0), in a rematch of their meeting at UFC 251 on Fight Island last July – a fight Masvidal took on less than a week’s notice, and which was a unanimous decision victory for Usman.
Also on the main card are two fights, for two championship belts, featuring four of the UFC’s top five women’s pound-for-pound fighters. The Co-Main fight will be a battle for the Women’s strawweight title, with Champion Zhang Weili (21-1-0) facing no. 1 contender and former strawweight Champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas (10-4-0) in a showdown of the no. 3 and no. 4 pound-for-pound women’s fighters in the UFC. In the third title fight of the night, Women’s Flyweight champion Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko (20-3-0) puts her title on the line for the sixth straight time – this time against no.1 contender Jessica Andrade (21-8-0).
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 will begin with early prelims at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN+ (English and Spanish), prelims at 8 p.m. on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+, and the PPV main card at 10 p.m., exclusively on ESPN+ (English, Spanish). Live coverage begins with UFC Live presented by DraftKings: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 on ABC at 4 p.m.. The Pre-Show provides fans with exclusive insights and views on the biggest stories heading into UFC 261.
The no. 2 ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter, Usman kicked off his 2021 campaign with an impressive TKO win over former teammate Gilbert Burns in February and now has his sights set on his fourth title defense by proving his first win over Masvidal was no fluke.
Masvidal aims to even the score with Usman and capture the UFC welterweight championship in his second crack at the title. Owner of the fastest KO in UFC history at six seconds over Ben Askren in 2019, he has also had wins against Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.
UFC 261 will be Zhang’s first appearance since her 2020 Fight of the Year win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk one year ago. Currently riding a 21-fight win streak, she is looking to take out another high-profile former titleholder and continue her run at the top of the strawweight division.
Namajunas is gunning to become the first ever two-time champion in UFC strawweight history. Originally featured as a cast member on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, Namajunas looks to become the first fighter to defeat Zhang in almost eight years.
Shevchenko seeks to continue her dominant title reign against one of her toughest opponents to date. Undefeated since moving to flyweight in 2018, she aims to add another former UFC champion to her resume and prove she is undoubtably the top women’s flyweight in the world.
Andrade immediately made an impact upon moving to the flyweight division by delivering a TKO win over top contender Katlyn Chookagian last October, and now hopes to become only the second female fighter in UFC history to win titles in two separate divisions.
The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN+
The Ultimate Fighter 12: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck (2010) and The Ultimate Fighter 20: A Champion Will Be Crowned (2014) are now available on ESPN+. TUF 12 features lightweights only, with rivals Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck as coaches prior to their face off at UFC 124. TUF 20 is the first season to feature all female athletes and was used to create the UFC Women’s Strawweight division. Watch runner-up Rose Namajunas before she faces UFC Strawweight champion Zhang Weili at UFC 261 on Saturday. How to watch The Ultimate Fighter on ESPN+ and other MMA Stories.
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Original Content:
- COVER STORY: Kamaru Usman– “The Nigerian Nightmare” has a new act ahead of him, one rooted in the past: to not just win, but dominate and break souls. (Debuting Thursday across ESPN platforms)
- Baddest In The Game – A little more than a decade ago, the backyards of South Dade Miami provided the ultimate venue for Jorge “GameBred” Masvidal to showcase his skills. Now he’s getting a second crack at a UFC title.(Debuting Friday across ESPN platforms)
- El Guerrero de la Semana: Jeffrey Molina – The second instalment of the weekly ESPN Deportes cross-platform series highlighting Latinx combat sports athletes focuses on Colombian-American Jeff “El Jefe” Molina and how his love of Jackie Chan films inspired him to pursue a career in MMA.
- UFC 261 Countdown: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 behind-the-scenes look at the training camps for the main and co-main fighters. Available on ESPN+.
- UFC 261: Embedded: all-access series follows athletes throughout fight week, leading up to UFC 261. New episodes available on ESPN+ throughout fight week.
- Unlocking Victory: UFC 261 available now on ESPN+
- Ariel & the Bad Guy: Recent episodes available on ESPN+
- Jeff Wagenheim looks at how UFC 261 is a showcase of the increasingly undeniable power of women’s MMA
- MMA’s welterweight Mount Rushmore: Ranking Kamaru Usman among the greats
- An Oral History of the most impactful night of Masvidal’s career – when he defeated fellow welterweight contender Darren Till, and then served a “three piece with a soda” to Leon Edwards backstage. (Coming Friday)
- UFC 261 Viewer’s Guide (Coming Saturday)
- This week: How to watch and stream, plus expert analysis and predictions
- ESPN’s UFC 261 Pick’Em – fans can play for FREE and compete for a chance to win $5,000
Programming (All times ET)
|Thurs., 4/22||4 p.m.||UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Press Conference||ESPN App, @ESPNMMA YouTube
|Fri., 4/23||8:55 a.m.||UFC 261 Official Weigh-In Show||ESPN+, ESPN Twitter, @ESPNMMA YouTube|
|12 p.m.||UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Pre-Show||ESPN+|
|4 p.m.||UFC 261 Ceremonial Weigh-In||ESPN App, @ESPNMMA YouTube|
|5:30 p.m.||UFC Live presented by DraftKings: Usman vs. Masvidal 2||ESPN2|
|Sat., 4/24||3 p.m.||UFC 261 Countdown: Usman vs. Masvidal 2||ABC|
|4 p.m.||UFC Live presented by DraftKings: Usman vs. Masvidal 2||ABC|
|5 p.m.||UFC 261: Ariel and The Bad Guy Social Show||@ESPNMMA YouTube, ESPN Twitter, ESPN App|
|6 p.m.||UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 (Early Prelims) Presented by Modelo||ESPN2, ESPN+|
|8 p.m.||UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 (Prelims) Presented by Modelo||ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes|
|10 p.m.||UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 (Main Card)||ESPN+ PPV (English and Spanish)|
|1 a.m.||UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Post Show*||ESPN+|
* immediately following main card
Main Card, Prelims and Early Prelims (All times ET)
|10:00 PM||Kamaru Usman (C) vs. Jorge Masvidal||UFC Welterweight Championship|
|Zhang Weili (C) vs. Rose Namajunas||UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship|
|Valentina Shevchenko (C) vs. Jessica Andrade||UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship|
|Uriah Hall vs. Chris Weidman|
|Anthony Smith vs. Jimmy Crute|
|8:00 PM||Alex Oliveira vs. Randy Brown|
|Dwight Grant vs. Stefan Sekulic|
|Karl Roberson vs. Brendan Allen|
|Pat Sabatini vs. Tristan Connelly|
|6:00 PM||Danaa Batgerel vs. Kevin Natividad|
|Kazula Vargas vs. Rongzhu|
|Aoriqileng vs. Jeff Molina|
|Liang Na vs. Ariane Carnelossi|