MMASucka’s UFC 261 Staff Picks

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MMASucka staff picks are locked in for the end of our third-straight double-header weekend. The highly anticipated UFC 261 is set to go down tonight, April 24 from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. This will be the promotion’s first event outside of Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi since May of 2020 and the first event with a full-capacity crowd since March of 2020. Tonight’s main card will begin at 10:00pm ET (7:00pm PT) live on pay-per-view available for purchase through ESPN+.

Make sure to check out our picks from Friday night’s PFL 1 2021 event.

The Fights

Three sensational title fights are slated tonight for a potential five, five-minute rounds. In the main event, champion Kamaru Usman will rematch challenger Jorge Masvidal in the welterweight division. Usman not only took their first fight by decision but followed it up just a few short months ago with a knockout win of Gilbert Burns. Masvidal is looking to start the year strong in search of his first professional title and first win since his 2019 stoppage over Nate Diaz.

The co-main event will see our second title fight in the strawweight division between current queen Zhang Weili and the former Rose Namajunas. China’s Weili became her country’s first ever UFC champion with her lightening-fast knockout of Jessica Andrade in 2019. Namajunas will look to get back the gold she once held after losing the strap to the aforementioned Andrade nearly two years ago.

Our third and final title fight comes between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade for the flyweight championship. Shevchenko looks to continue her establish herself as one of MMA’s greatest of all-time in search of her fifth title defense. Brazil’s Andrade will contend in her second 125-pound fight after finishing Katlyn Chookagian with strikes inside five minutes last October.

See all of our staff picks for UFC 261 further below.

UFC 246

Staff Picks

Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from UFC and Bellator events. PFL will make its debut today, along with Dana White’s Contender Series in the summer months.

The WINNER of staff picks in 2021 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or chain from Championship Chains. For the third straight year, Michael DeSantis captured the 2020 victory compiling a record of 201-88.

See our UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal II staff picks below.

Staff Records after UFC Vegas 24

1. Wesley Riddle: 49-27
2. Nate Freeman: 47-29
3. Michael DeSantis: 45-31
4T. Ash Camyab: 44-32
4T. Frazer Krohn: 44-32
4T. Joshua Yule: 44-32
7T. Mitchell Banuelos: 43-33
7T. Kenny Lee: 43-33
9. Jeremy Brand: 39-37
10. Mike Lynch: 38-33
11. Matt Bricker: 31-31
12. Tim Wheaton: 30-17
13. Andrew Benjamin: 28-34

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
*Note – PFL 1 2021 picks will be added to the above records NEXT weekend*

Anthony Smith (34-16) vs. Jim Crute (12-1)

Jeremy Brand: Smith via UD
Wesley Riddle: Crute via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Crute via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Crute via Round 2 TKO
Matt Bricker: Crute via Round 3 TKO
Ash Camyab: Smith via Round 3 SUB
Andrew Benjamin: Smith via UD
Frazer Krohn: Crute via UD
Mike Lynch: Crute via UD
Nate Freeman: Crute via Round 2 TKO
Joshua Yule: Crute via Round 3 TKO
Kenny Lee: Crute via UD
Tim Wheaton: Crute via Round 1 SUB

Staff picking Smith: 3
Staff picking Crute: 10

Uriah Hall (17-9) vs. Chris Weidman (15-5)

Jeremy Brand: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Weidman via UD
Michael DeSantis: Weidman via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Hall via Round 1 TKO
Matt Bricker: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Weidman via UD
Nate Freeman: Hall via Round 2 TKO
Joshua Yule: Weidman via UD
Kenny Lee: Weidman via UD
Tim Wheaton: Weidman via UD

Staff picking Hall: 7
Staff picking Weidman: 6

Valentina Shevchenko (30-3) vs. Jessica Andrade (21-8)

Jeremy Brand: Shevchenko via Round 1 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Shevchenko via Round 4 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Shevchenko via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Shevchenko via UD
Matt Bricker: Shevchenko via UD
Ash Camyab: Shevchenko via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Shevchenko via UD
Frazer Krohn: Shevchenko via UD
Mike Lynch: Shevchenko via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Shevchenko via UD
Joshua Yule: Shevchenko via UD
Kenny Lee: Shevchenko via Round 5 TKO
Tim Wheaton: Shevchenko via Round 3 TKO

Staff picking Shevchenko: 13
Staff picking Andrade: 0

Zhang Weili (21-1) vs. Rose Namajunas (10-4)

Jeremy Brand: Weili via Round 3 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Weili via Round 5 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Weili via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Weili via Round 2 TKO
Matt Bricker: Weili via UD
Ash Camyab: Weili via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Namajunas via UD
Frazer Krohn: Weili via Round 4 TKO
Mike Lynch: Weili via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Weili via SD
Joshua Yule: Weili via UD
Kenny Lee: Weili via UD
Tim Wheaton: Weili via Round 5 TKO

Staff picking Weili: 12
Staff picking Namajunas: 1

Kamaru Usman (18-1) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-14)

Jeremy Brand: Usman via Round 4 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Usman via UD
Michael DeSantis: Usman via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Usman via Round 3 TKO
Matt Bricker: Usman via Round 3 TKO
Ash Camyab: Usman via Round 5 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Usman via UD
Frazer Krohn: Usman via Round 4 TKO
Mike Lynch: Masvidal via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Usman via UD
Joshua Yule: Usman via UD
Kenny Lee: Usman via UD
Tim Wheaton: Usman via UD

Staff picking Usman: 12
Staff picking Masvidal: 1

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Wesley Riddle is a 29-year-old writer residing in Raleigh, North Carolina from Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has been part of the MMASucka team since the fourth quarter of 2016. Additionally, he serves as a writer with partner site Last Word on Motorsports.

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