UFC 261 Odds, Picks & Predictions: Usman vs. Masvidal 2
Bet of the Card: (2u) Two-Leg Parlay: Kamaru Usman Moneyline (-400) + Jimmy Crute Moneyline (-188) For -110 (to Return 3.833 Units)
1st Leg of Parlay: Kamaru Usman Moneyline @ -400
Main Event – UFC Welterweight (170lbs) Championship Bout – Approx. Start Time: 12:45 a.m. EST.
- Kamaru Usman is on a 17-fight win streak, with 6-straight five round fight wins.
- In their first fight (less than a year ago), Usman won via unanimous decision (50-45) (50-45) (49-46) (per MMADecision.com).
Backing big favorites in MMA is something I often try to avoid, but Kamaru Usman is a man I’m willing to lay the wood on (bet as a heavy favorite), especially in a stylistically favorable spot against an opponent he dominated less than a year ago.
When Masvidal and Usman first squared-off at UFC 251, Masvidal (pictured below) stepped up on short-notice to take the fight. He claimed he hadn’t been training at the time for a fight with Usman, which has been hotly debated, and he’s never shied away from putting down his underwhelming performance to his last-minute weight cut. It appears that the only way we may find out the legitimacy of these claims, is if Masvidal is able to put up a much improved showing this time around, although I’m skeptical this will happen.
Usman is currently ranked no.2 on the UFC’s Pound-For-Pound rankings (only behind Jon Jones), but based off of recent performances, you’d be hard pressed to deny that he is the highest-level fighter in the UFC right now, albeit not the most entertaining.
Usman’s fight IQ is phenomenal, his pacing and cardio boarders on mythical, and his stiff lead jab is perhaps the simplest, yet most functional tool we’re seeing work against top-tier competition (pictured below). Masvidal on the other hand, is often happy to let his opponents control the fight, whilst he puts up minimal effort to reverse the action and utilize his striking offense. We’ve seen in the past that he’s capable of producing finishes from out of nowhere, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen him systematically breakdown anyone even close to Usman’s level.
I see this playing out very similarly to their first encounter. Usman will utilize his strength to clinch Masvidal up the cage and work him over with short, peppering shots. Usman landed 5 takedowns when he last fought Masvidal, I can see him surpassing that number and spending significantly more time in top position, which should lead to even more pronounced minute-winning for Usman. Masvidal will always have a chance at catching his opponent with some highlight reel-worthy shot, but as is often the case against these durable and unrelenting wrestlers, it’s just simply not enough to deter me from betting them.
I’m taking Usman to win on the moneyline as the first leg of my parlay. I think he picks up another commanding victory on the scorecards, but depending upon his mood, he’s more than capable of getting a finish, even against someone as tough as Masvidal.
2nd Leg of Parlay: Jimmy Crute @ -188
Main Card – Light Heavyweight (205lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:15 p.m. EST.
- Jimmy Crute ranks amongst active UFC Light Heavyweights: 1st for Control Time Percentage (47.8%), Top Position Percentage (41.2%), Strikes Absorbed per Min. (1.16), and for Submission Attempts Averaged per 15 Min. (2.8), whilst also sitting 2nd for Knockdown Average per 15 Min. (1.68) and 7th for Striking Differential (1.49) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
It’s normally prudent to avoid betting highly touted prospects like the plague, particularly against savvy veterans, but at this current line, I’m all aboard the Jimmy Crute hype train (pictured below).
Jimmy Crute appears to be the full package. He’s durable, got decent cardio, strong wrestling and grappling, solid striking and fight IQ, and he yields knockout power and a desire to apply pressure to his opponents when he feels he has the upper hand. Many of these factors can also be applied to Anthony Smith as well (pictured below), with the added experience benefit of having 50 pro bouts under his belt, but that’s not to say that he’s operating on Crute’s level.
Before his last win over Devin Clark, Smith was on a 1-3 run, having been dominated in all 3 of his losses, including a life changing beating at the hands of 40-year-old, Glover Teixeira. Recently his cardio management and takedown defense has looked extremely suspect, and although he has got the potential to have a competitive fight on the feet with Crute, the risk of him getting out-wrestled is reason enough to consider betting against him here. Add on that Crute boasts increased striking volume and striking defense, alongside a notable power and strength advantage, and it’s difficult to see where Smith’s going to have the edge in this fight.
Expect Crute to come out of the gates hot, looking to land on Smith early with a barrage of strikes. Alternatively, he could also look to implement his wrestling from the get-go, which would put Smith onto his back and defending furiously against Crute’s top control and heavy ground’n’pound. Smith is tough and does have great submission defense, but with Crute’s aggression and finisher’s mentality, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him stop Smith via either method. Ultimately, I favor Crute to get the win here, be it by decision, KO/TKO, or submission, so I love taking him straight on the moneyline to round out the parlay.
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(1u) Chris Weidman Moneyline @ -108 (to Return 1.93 Units)
Main Card - Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 10:45 p.m. EST.
- Chris Weidman has landed the most takedowns in UFC Middleweight history (42) (per StatLeaders.UFC.com).
- Uriah Hall’s 69% takedown defense percentage isn’t terrible, but against Chris Weidman, a fighter who relentlessly pursues takedowns at a rate of 3.93 per 15 minutes (per UFCStats.com), we can expect it to be tested, and likely buckled.
Betting Chris Weidman wasn’t on my list of things to do in 2021 but given the odds we’re getting on him against Uriah Hall, it appears I’ve been coaxed into it. Both these guys are long past their prime, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see this matchup go down. It’s a classic clash of styles, the striker versus the grappler.
Uriah Hall still has the speed, precision, and timing to put anyone away on the feet. His durability has more-or-less stood the test of time at this point, and his submission defense is insanely good for someone who’s as one dimensional as he is. Hall’s major drawbacks are that he’s a notoriously slow starter, and that he throws with low-volume. This translates to him typically giving up rounds by being out landed on strikes, often with him needing to get a finish late, which restricts him to being a largely finish-or-bust fighter.
Chris Weidman is the opposite to Hall in a lot of ways. He’s more well-rounded, but largely recognized for his grappling skills. He’s a faster starter, so he’s able to get on offense early and dictate fights. But unlike Hall, his durability is noticeably diminished, meaning that he can get finished against powerful opponents, particularly when he gets fatigued later in fights.
Hall will be a danger throughout the fight, as he is always a knockout threat, yet his chances of winning a decision is seriously stifled by his game planning and reluctancy to throw more strikes than what he’s got coming back at him. Weidman, however, should look like the much more active fighter, and providing he’s able to get takedowns, he will be able to decisively take rounds in his favor, whilst also putting Hall at risk of getting submitted or TKO’ed on the mat. There will, of course, be the risk that Hall can catch Weidman and KO him, but given that Weidman should be winning rounds and producing chances to finish Hall, it just demonstrates that he has more avenues to win, thus making him the value side in a closely lined fight.
Take Chris Weidman on the moneyline to get the win, I favor him to do so by decision, but much like Jimmy Crute, he has the capability to get it done inside the distance too.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 / #UFC261
Location & Venue: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Date: Saturday, April 24th, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 8 p.m. EST, Early Prelims 6 p.m. EST
Where to watch UFC 261: Main Card on PPV, Prelims on ESPN/ESPN+, Early Prelims on ESPN+
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Full Fight Card Predictions:
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Main Event Prediction:
Welterweight (170lbs): Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal – Usman via Decision
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Main Card Predictions:
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas – Zhang via KO/TKO
(W) Flyweight (125lbs): Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jéssica Andrade – Shevchenko via Decision
Middleweight (185lbs): Uriah Hall vs. Chris Weidman – Weidman via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Anthony Smith vs. Jimmy Crute – Crute via Decision
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Prelim Card Predictions:
Welterweight (170lbs): Randy Brown vs. Alex Oliveira – Brown via Submission
Welterweight (170lbs): Dwight Grant vs. Stefan Sekulić – Grant via KO/TKO
Middleweight (185lbs): Brendan Allen vs. Karl Roberson – Allen via Submission
Featherweight (145lbs): Tristan Connelly vs. Pat Sabatini – Sabatini via Decision
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 Early Prelim Card Predictions:
Bantamweight (135lbs): Danaa Batgerel vs. Kevin Natividad – Batgerel via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Zhu Rong vs. Rodrigo Vargas – Rong via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Jeff Molina vs. Qileng Aori – Molina via Decision
(W) Strawweight (115lbs): Ariane Carnelossi vs. Na Liang – Carnelossi via Decision
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.