UFC 261 is the subject of two big updates for the promotion, as it will be headlined by a rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal and take place in front of a full crowd for the first time in about a year. The event will take place in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 24.
Dana White announced the news in a video shared to social media:
Usman vs. Masvidal will be a rematch for the welterweight title, which Usman currently holds. The champ is on a 17-fight winning streak, most recently defending his title against Gilbert Burns with a TKO early in round three of their long-awaited matchup. Masvidal’s last fight was his first meeting with Usman last July, which went the distance and resulted in a decision in Usman’s favor. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak that consisted of finishes over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz.
Also on the card will be two more title fights: one for the flyweight championship between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade, and one for the strawweight championship between Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas.
The event is set to take place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, which has a seating capacity of 15,000. Prior to the upcoming event, the UFC had only hosted cards with a limited number of fans for a few of their Fight Island events in Abu Dhabi. The promotion has largely been operating without spectators since last March due to pandemic restrictions, but as the vaccine rollout has helped decrease numbers of daily new cases, more states have been loosening restrictions on public and private gatherings.
UFC 261 will take place on Saturday, April 24.