UFC 261 is minutes away from kicking off, and features three incredibly compelling title fights.
The main event? A rematch between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, but that's just the beginning.
Usman defeated Masvidal in their first encounter in what was a fairly one-sided battle. But, given the fact Masvidal took the fight on extremely short notice (and the fact Masvidal is probably the biggest draw in the division) this contest is still a compelling one. Masvidal showed flashes of a skillset that could trouble a wrestler like Usman. This fight could be a close one. Certainly much closer than in the first.
The co-main event is perhaps the most exciting for hardcore fans. Zhang Weili is UFC's first Chinese champion and her last fight -- against Joanna Jędrzejczyk -- wasn't just the best women's fight in MMA history, it might be the best fight ever, period. The thought of her facing off against former UFC strawweight champ Rose Namajunas is a salivating one. I wouldn't be surprised if this is another fight of the year candidate.
The third title fight pits one of the most dominant champions currently fighting in the UFC against one of its most notorious buzzsaws. Valentina Shevchenko has looked utterly indestructible at flyweight but in Jessica Andrade, she's facing an ex-champion who will pressure and come forward no matter what.
This will almost certainly be Shevchenko's toughest title defence yet.
UFC 261 Start time
The main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details...
- The main card starts April 24, 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).
- The prelims start April 24, 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
- The early prelims start April 24, 5.45 p.m. ET (2.45 p.m. PT).
- The main card starts April 25, 3 a.m. GMT.
- The prelims start April 25, 1 a.m. GMT.
- The early prelims start April 24, 10.45 p.m. GMT.
- The main card starts April 25, 12 noon AEDT.
- The prelims start April 25, 10 a.m. AEDT.
- The early prelims start April 25, 7.45 a.m. AEDT.
How to watch UFC 261
This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That's great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you're one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.
In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 261, you'll only find the fight night on PPV through . The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN's site:
- Existing yearly ESPN Plus subscribers can .
- Existing monthly ESPN Plus subscribers will be able to either upgrade to an annual plan and buy UFC PPV for $85 or purchase the ability to watch the UFC event on PPV for $70 by itself.
- New ESPN Plus subscribers can buy a bundle of one UFC PPV event (streaming in HD) and an ESPN Plus annual recurring subscription for $90. This is a decent deal. The previous bundle gave a saving of 25% but this new bundle is a 35% saving. The ESPN Plus annual ESPN subscription will auto-renew after one year, at the price of an ESPN Plus annual subscription 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 through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 261 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.
Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.
Media stare downs
Earlier this week, at he UFC media day, some of the fighters on the main card had their first face-offs ahead of the fights this Saturday.
Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal
Zhang Weili vs. Rose Namajunas
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade
Full fight card
Normal disclaimer, given COVID-19 and the general chaos of UFC cards, this line-up could change at any time. We'll keep this as current 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