UFC 261: Usman v Masvidal odds and predictions
Guy Giles is predicting another strong performance from welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 261 in Jacksonville.
Usman v Masvidal odds
Just over two months after defending his belt for the third time, welterweight champ Kamaru Usman is back in the Octagon at UFC 261.
He faces a familiar opponent in Jorge Masvidal, who stepped in on short notice for Usman’s second title defense in July 2020.
‘Gamebred’ put up as good a fight as anyone could expect on six days’ notice as he went the distance but was unable to trouble a totally dominant Usman.
Masvidal has been as vocal as ever since then in campaigning for a rematch, and he now gets a chance to challenge Usman with a full camp behind him.
Despite that, it is ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ who heads to Jacksonville as a clear favourite to retain his title.
Masvidal, who will be taking part in his 20th UFC fight on Saturday, is a underdog.
Usman v Masvidal prediction
Usman controlled the first fight with his outstanding wrestling, keeping Masvidal in the clinch and on his back for significant periods as he wore him down.
Although Masvidal should be in better shape to counter in those exchanges on Saturday, the champ still holds a significant advantage in that area.
If he wanted, Usman could probably dominate the fight in exactly the same way, and grind out another convincing win on the scorecards.
All the talk before the fight, though, has been centred on shutting Masvidal up and putting this rivalry behind him – that suggests he will be looking for a finish.
Usman has knocked out two top contenders in Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington in recent fights, showcasing his much-improved striking.
Working behind his powerful jab, Usman has shown he can mix it with the best of them on the feet, and won’t be afraid of exchanging shots with Masvidal.
The challenger will always have a highlight-reel finish in his arsenal, but Usman’s chin is among the best in the UFC, having never been knocked out.
Usman is a rare athlete in the prime of his career, and is simply better than Masvidal in all areas.
Expect him to dominate the fight, possibly wearing Masvidal down with his wrestling before ending the fight with some big shots.
Usman to win by KO, TKO or disqualification
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