UFC 261 predictions: Are we picking any upsets in the three title fights?

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Matt Erickson
·3 min read
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Usman
vs.
Masvidal

Weili
vs.
Namajunas

Shevchenko
vs.
Andrade

Hall
vs.
Weidman

Crute
vs.
Smith

MMA Junkie readers’
consensus picks
2021: 46-29

usman2021


Usman
(71%)

weili2021


Weili
(57%)

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko
(91%)

hall2021


Hall
(64%)

crute2021


Crute
(63%)

John Morgan
@MMAjunkieJohn
2021: 49-26

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

Ken Hathaway
@kenshathaway
2021: 48-27

trophy copy

2018 Champion

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

Danny Segura
@dannyseguratv
2021: 47-28

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

weidman2021


Weidman

smith2021


Smith

Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2021: 47-28

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

George Garcia
@MMAjunkieGeorge
2021: 47-28

masvidal2021


Masvidal

namajunas2021


Namajunas

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

smith2021


Smith

Nolan King
@mma_kings
2021: 45-30

usman2021


Usman

namajunas2021


Namajunas

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2021: 45-30

trophy copy

2017 Champion

masvidal2021


Masvidal

namajunas2021


Namajunas

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

smith2021


Smith

Dan Tom
@DanTomMMA
2021: 44-31

trophy copy

2020 Champion

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

Matt Erickson
@MMAjunkieMatt
2021: 43-32

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

Abbey Subhan
@kammakaze
2021: 42-33

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

Mike Bohn
@MikeBohnMMA
2021: 41-34

trophy copy

2014 Champion

usman2021


Usman

weili2021


Weili

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

smith2021


Smith

Farah Hannoun
@Farah_Hannoun
2021: 39-36

usman2021


Usman

namajunas2021


Namajunas

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko

hall2021


Hall

crute2021


Crute

BetMGM
Betting Favorites

usman2021


Usman -400

weili2021


Weili -200

shevchenko2021


Shevchenko -500

weidman2021


Weidman -125

crute2021


Crute -200

The UFC is back in front of a full arena of fans for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down, and there are three title fights atop the card.

UFC 261 takes place Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

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In the main event, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (18-1 MMA, 13-0 UFC) takes on Jorge Masvidal (35-14 MMA, 12-7 UFC) in a rematch from 2020. Usman is a heavy favorite at -400 at BetMGM, and he’s got a big 10-2 lead in the picks from our 12 editors, writers, videographers and radio hosts.

In the co-feature, women’s strawweight champ Zhang Weili (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) puts her title on the line against former champ Rose Namajunas (9-4 MMA, 7-3 UFC). Weili is the smallest favorite among the champions, but still sits at -200. She has doubled up on Namajunas in our picks at 8-4.

And in the third title fight, women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko (20-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) is a 5-1 favorite against former strawweight champion and now 125-pound challenger Jessica Andrade (21-8 MMA, 12-6 UFC). Shevchenko is our only unanimous pick on the card at 12-0.

Also on the main card, Uriah Hall (16-9 MMA, 9-7 UFC) takes on former middleweight champion Chris Weidman (15-5 MMA, 11-5 UFC). And though the odds have shifted from Hall as a slight favorite to Weidman as a slight favorite at -125, our pickers are going with Hall at a big 11-1 clip.

And to open the main card, Jimmy Crute (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) takes on former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith (34-16 MMA, 9-6 UFC). Crute is a 2-1 favorite and has an 8-4 picks lead.

In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Usman (71 percent), Weili (57 percent), Shevchenko (91 percent), Hall (64 percent) and Crute (63 percent) are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

List

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