UFC 262 will crown a new lightweight champion as former Bellator champion Michael Chandler meets the UFC’s all-time submissions and performance bonuses leader, Charles Oliveira. Let’s keep the hot streak going with the UFC 262 betting picks as the fights start Saturday, May 15.
UFC 261 Betting Picks: Usman and Masvidal Run it Back
UFC 261 features three championship fights and just like UFC 259, we’re expecting some upsets to happen. We’re taking our UFC 261 betting picks and going big with an underdog for Saturday, April 24.
Our UFC 260 picks got clobbered as we saw Francis Ngannou dust Stipe Miocic. Nonetheless, we’re not backing away from making another bold pick on top of our UFC 261 betting picks.
We are back to three title fights just like UFC 259. All three champions from welterweight king Kamaru Usman to the women’s champions: flyweight Valentina Shevchenko and strawweight Zhang Weili are favourites. But we rarely see all three champions walk away unbeaten on the same night. No. Expect at least one to yield their belt as we break down the fights and their odds (via SportsInteraction (SIA):
|Fighter #1||Fighter #2|
Kamaru Usman (c)
Zhang Weili (c)
Valentina Shevchenko (c)
|Anthony Smith||2.55||1.51||Jimmy Crute|
UFC 261: Usman vs Masvidal II Bouts*
- Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman (18-1-0) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-14-0)
- Women’s Strawweight Championship: Zhang Weili (c) (21-1-0) vs Rose Namajunas (9-4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight: Valentina Shevchenko (c) (20-3-0) vs Jessica Andrade (21-8-0)
- Middleweight: Uriah Hall (16-9-0) vs Chris Weidman (15-5-0)
- Light Heavyweight: Anthony Smith (34-16-0) vs Jimmy Crute (12-1-0)
- Welterweight: Alex Oliveira (22-9-1) vs Randy Brown (12-4-0)
- Welterweight Dwight Grant (10-3-0) vs Stefan Sekulic (12-3-0)
- Middleweight: Brendan Allen (15-4-0) vs Karl Roberson (9-3-0)
- Featherweight: Tristan Connelly (14-6-0) vs Pat Sabatini (13-3-0)
- Bantamweight: Danaa Batgerel (8-2-0) vs Kevin Natividad (9-2-0)
- Lightweight: Zhu Rong (17-3-0) vs Rodrigo Vargas (11-4-0)
- Flyweight: Jeff Molina (8-2-0) vs Qileng Aori (18-6-0)
- Women’ Strawweight: Na Liang (15-4-0) vs Ariane Carnelossi (12-2-0)
- Bantamweight: Johnny Munoz Jr. (10-1-0) vs Jamey Simmons (7-3-0)
*Subject to change closer to the event
UFC 261 Picks & Predictions
Yikes, we got killed 0-2 with our UFC 260 picks as both Miocic and Tyron Woodley got finished while the featherweight championship fight got postponed. That’s the danger of rolling with underdogs. We’re not afraid to pick an underdog yet again although two of the chalk bets look solid:
Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman (c) (1.29) vs Jorge Masvidal (3.50)
We’ve seen this one just recently and we’re going to see it play out almost the same way. Masvidal is getting an immediate rematch despite getting cleanly beaten the first time. Sure, he has the “last-minute replacement” as an excuse, but even with a full training camp, he is not going to stop Usman from outwrestling him.
Masvidal’s best chance here is to catch and hurt Usman either when he’s coming in for a takedown or while they’re on their feet. Despite his last five wins coming via knockout, Masvidal is not exactly a power puncher. And Usman has shown a durable chin. Dana White and fans may want so badly for Masvidal to win, but it’s not happening.
SBR’s pick — Usman (1.29). It might be boring yet again, but Usman will utilize a similar strategy and neutralize Masvidal’s style for the entire fight. But 1.29 is steep. Masvidal is still a dangerous fighter. Instead, it will likely be more valuable to take Usman and throw him into a parlay.
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Women’s Strawweight Championship: Weili Zhang (c) (1.51) vs Rose Namajunas (2.55)
Namajunas is a live underdog here at 2.55 though Zhang is a tough nut to crack. She is coming off the greatest women’s MMA fight against former champion Joanna Jedrzedzcyzk. Ultimately, it was her power and relentlessness that won her the fight.
Zhang isn’t just a power puncher. She’s a highly-refined martial artist with a background in several Chinese martial arts before doing MMA full-time. Though primarily a striker, she can also wrestle. But everyone is sleeping on just how great of a martial artist Namajunas is. She is fast, agile, and has a grappling edge here.
SBR’s pick — Namajunas (2.55). Namajunas was able to outstrike Jedrzedzcyzk twice then went back and beat Jessica Andrade. Zhang is powerful and aggressive, but Namajunas has seen that before. She’s the faster of the two fighters, trains with a better camp, and can edge Zhang here.
Women’s Flyweight Championship: Valentina Shevchenko (1.21) vs Jessica Andrade (4.20)
If it wasn’t for Amanda Nunes, Shevchenko would be the most dominant female fighter on the planet. The kickboxer has been virtually unbeatable at 125 and even the former strawweight champion Andrade won’t outdo her here. This fight could play out quite like the Jedrzedczyzk-Andrade fight from 2017.
Shevchenko will utilize her size and reach advantage to keep Andrade at bay. If the Brazilian gets aggressive, Shevchenko will counter her or even take her to the mat to neutralize her. Despite Andrade being the aggressor here, Shevchenko will be out striking her for a clear-cut decision.
SBR’s pick — Shevchenko (1.21). Andrade is dangerous, but Shevchenko is not just durable but smart. Most of her fights have been boring simply because she’s out-thought most of her opponents. She’s playing chess while her opponents are playing checkers. Still, that crazy line is better used as part of a parlay.
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