UFC President Dana White will finally get his wish of running a full capacity event in the United States. The UFC Twitter account announced yesterday that UFC 261 takes place on April 24th at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The event will have a full capacity crowd, meaning the UFC can have up to 15,000 fans in attendance. The UFC also announced that UFC 261 would feature three championship fights, with the main event being the rematch between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal.
— UFC (@ufc) March 16, 2021
Usman will have a relatively quick return to competition. He successfully defended his championship against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 on February 13th at the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Usman called out Masvidal after the fight and made his intentions clear that he wanted to “Finish” him. Masvidal has also been calling for a rematch, which helped the UFC make the fight happen as soon as possible.
The first fight took place at UFC 251 on July 12, 2020, at the Du Forum arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Usman was originally scheduled to face Burns at the event. However, MMAJunkie’s Mike Bohn reported on July 3rd that Burns got removed from the fight due to testing positive for COVID-19. Masvidal replaced Burns on nine days’ notice to face Usman for the welterweight title. Usman clearly defeated Mavisdal by unanimous decision to retain his championship. Although Usman clearly won, fans speculated that the result would have been different if Masvidal had a full training camp. Now both fighters will be able to clear all doubt on who is better.
UFC 261 fight card is still being planned. The other championship fights on the card will have both the UFC flyweight and strawweight champions defend their titles. Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will defend her title against former female strawweight champion Jessica Andrade, and strawweight champion Weili Zhang will defend her title against former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. It is unclear at this time which fight will be the co-main event.