UFC 261 takes place in front of a full capacity crowd and is topped by three title fights. Cageside Press has its picks set.

Smith vs. Crute
Hall vs. Weidman
Shevchenko vs. Andrade
Zhang vs. Namajunas
Usman vs. Masvidal
Ryan Fortune (45-25)
Justin Gibbons (44-26)
Alex Behunin (32-19)
Dan Doherty (42-28)
Heath Harshman (42-28)
Mike McClory (33-24)
Doug Murray (36-29)
Dylan Bowker (32-29)
Gabriel Gonzalez (36-34)
Joe McDonagh (30-32)
Jay Anderson (32-38)

The headlining title fight of UFC 261 takes place in the welterweight division, with Kamaru Usman defending his title in a rematch against Jorge Masvidal. This will be Usman’s fourth title defense, as he’s stopped Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns alongside the first Masvidal win. Masvidal hasn’t fought since the first meeting with Usman, which he took on less than a week’s notice last July. Usman was unanimously picked.

The co-main event features Weili Zhang defending her strawweight title against former champion Rose Namajunas. Zhang was on the winning side of 2020’s Fight of the Year, defending the belt against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in an instant classic. Namajunas is coming off an impressive win over Jessica Andrade after losing the belt to her. Zhang was picked by eight of 11 writers.

Valentina Shevchenko puts her flyweight title on the line against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade. Shevchenko has defended the title four times seemingly without breaking a sweat, defeating Jennifer Maia last time out. Andrade impressed in her flyweight debut, blowing through top contender Katlyn Chookagian. Shevchenko was unanimously picked.

In a rematch almost 11 years in the making, Uriah Hall faces Chris Weidman. Weidman won by TKO the first time around and is looking to make it two-in-a-row after beating Omari Akhmedov last time out. Hall has won his last three fights, knocking out Anderson Silva in October and taking a split decision against Antonio Carlos Junior in 2019. Hall was picked by eight of 11 writers.

Opening up the main card is a light heavyweight matchup between Anthony Smith and Jimmy Crute. Smith is coming off an impressive triangle choke win over Devin Clark last time out, snapping a two-fight losing streak. Crute has been very promising since appearing on the Contender Series in 2018, going 4-1 with four stoppages. Smith was picked by seven of 11 writers.


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