UFC 261 results, highlights: Kamaru Usman pounds Jorge Masvidal with vicious knockout to retain title

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On a night in which fireworks became the norm during the first UFC card in front of a full crowd since the start of the pandemic, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman saved the best for last. 

In a stunning showcase of his evolving game and pound-for-pound talent, Usman made the fifth defense of his 170-pound title by knocking Jorge Masvidal out cold in Round 2 of their UFC 261 main event rematch inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.  

Usman (19-1) was dominant throughout in terms of takedowns and top control on the ground, which Masvidal would go on to say he fully expected. Unlike their first meeting in 2020, in which Masvidal accepted the fight on late notice and lost a one-sided decision, the 36-year-old slugger had no excuses following a full training camp. 

"He showed me something that he didn't show the first fight [when] I didn't feel his power," Masvidal said. "That's what happens when you get overconfident. I thought we were going to wrestle more and I was ready to wrestle for 25 minutes but all the props in the world to him. He has got my number. There is nothing more to say. He won this fair and square and God bless him."

In his third fight with new trainer Trevor Wittman, Usman's evolution as a striker continued to be the story at age 33. Usman countered Masvidal's outside leg kicks with clean right hands and stiff jabs throughout the opening round. Masvidal smiled and taunted back in return each time he was hit clean, but the strikes appeared to stun him and opened up opportunities for takedowns.

Although Masvidal remained competent from his back and landed a series of short elbows, the round closed with a big right hand from Usman and a jumping knee from Masvidal before the two rivals exchanged words after the horn and needed to be separated. 

Shorty after, things took a much more violent turn.

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"Jacksonville, Florida, you all said you wanted violence?" Usman said. "You're welcome."

Usman caught Masvidal (35-15) flush with a clean right cross which turned his chin and left him unconscious at 1:02 of Round 2. 

"Sky is the limit, I'm growing so much in the sport, I'm just blessed to be at this present time and moment. It was a sweet one, it's up there. If you look at the knockouts now that I'm putting together, that one's up there for sure," Usman said. "That's what I wanted to do, I said I'm so far ahead of these guys, I'm coming around and lapping these guys on the track, I'm coming around with a vengeance and I had to go out there and put the nails in that coffin and I did and we turn the page and move forward."

The victory extended Usman's win streak to 14 fights. It also marked the first time the iron-chinned Masvidal was stopped due to strikes in his eight-year UFC run.

"First time in my career, in front of all my people, my family and my friends," Masvidal said. "It hurts since I haven't been knocked out in 54 fights. I didn't fear his power and that's what happens."

Elsewhere on the card, Rose Namajunas captured gold for a second time with a stunning knockout of Weili Zhang in the co-main event. Namajunas earned the strawweight crown in just one round of action after losing it in 2019 in similarly stunning fashion. Zhang protested the stoppage, but it was clear that she was out after the vicious head kick Namajunas landed. Plus, Valentina Shevchenko proved once again why she's the best 125-pound fighter in the world with a domination of Jessica Andrade to retain her belt.

Plus, Chris Weidman suffered the same freak broken leg that Anderson Silva did against him when he threw an opening calf kick to start his fight with Uriah Hall in a featured bout. Weidman immediately crumpled to the floor and was taken out on a stretcher as Hall and the crowd watched on in agony. UFC president Dana White confirmed he was taken to the hospital and would undergo surgery on Sunday as Weidman faces a long road back to recovery.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC 261 below.

UFC 261 card and results

  • Kamaru Usman (c) def. Jorge Masvidal via second-round TKO (punches)
  • Rose Namajunas (c) def. Weili Zhang via first-round knockout (head kick)
  • Valentina Shevchenko (c) def. Jessica Andrade via second-round TKO (punches, elbows)
  • Uriah Hall def. Chris Weidman via first-round TKO (leg injury)
  • Anthony Smith def. Jimmy Crute via first-round TKO (doctor stoppage)
  • Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira via first-round submission (rear naked choke)
  • Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulic via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson via first-round submission (heel hook)
  • Patrick Sabatini def. Tristan Connelly via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Danaa Batgerel def. Kevin Natividad via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Kazula Vargas def. Rong Zhu via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Jeffrey Molina def. Aoriqileng via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang via second-round TKO (punches)
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Masvidal says it hurts to be knocked out for the first time in his career and in front of his people in Florida. Masvidal then says Usman won fair and square and was the better man.

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"Jacksonville, Florida, y'all said you wanted violence? You're welcome." - Usman after his victory. Usman gives credit to Masvidal for making him step his game up.

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Kamaru Usman (c) vs. Jorge Masvidal -- Round 2: Masvidal threw a few more leg kicks early in the round, landing a few of them solidly. Both fighters missed with overhand rights and Usman landed a bomb of a right moments later, folding Masvidal to the canvas. Usman flurried with hammerfists and the fight was over. A MASSIVE knockout victory for Usman. Official result: Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal via knockout (punches), Round 2.  

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Masvidal threw some elbows off his back and Usman postured up and landed a heavy elbow. Masvidal flurried with more elbows off his back, doing some good work with the shots. Usman tried to take the back as Masvidal worked back to the feet. Usman landed a big right hand and a stiff jab as they got back into the striking game. Masvidal landed a few good leg kicks late and charged in with a few punches and a jumping knee before the end of the round. Unofficial score: 10-9 Usman

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Usman continued trying to work behind his jab and then landed another overhand right. Masvidal threw a kick to the body and almost connected with a left hook. Masvidal threw a jumping knee and Usman exploded through a takedown, putting Masvidal on his back.

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Kamaru Usman (c) vs. Jorge Masvidal -- Round 1: Masvidal opened with a few feints as Usman shot out a good jab early. Masvidal threw a leg kick and then another from the other side. Usman tagged Masvidal with a good jab to the face and then one to the chest. Usman landed a good one-two, getting Masvidal's attention with a heavy right hand.

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Fighter introductions are happening now and we are just minutes away from Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2

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Usman makes the walk to a fairly strong chorus of boos from the Florida crowd.

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Masvidal is making the walk to the Octagon now. Challenger walks first, the champion last.

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This card has given me the feels again. From top to bottom I'd put what we've seen so far among the top cards in the last few years ... and we still have the main event to go. The fans make such a difference for everything.

April 25, 2021, 3:54 AM
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We now move right along to our main event of the evening. It's welterweight champion Kamaru Usman vs. second-time challenger Jorge Masvidal.

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Weili Zhang (c) vs. Rose Namajunas -- Round 1: Zhang landed an early leg kick and then went back to the kick again moments later. Zhang also landed a jab before digging to the leg again. Namajunas tried to pop out her jab but then uncorked a head kick and Zhang dropped! A few punches later and the fight is over. Zhang stumbled around the cage protesting the stoppage, but it was entirely legitimate. A brutal knockout victory for Namajunas. Official result: Rose Namajunas def. Weili Zhang via TKO (head kick and punches), Round 1

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We move along to the second title fight on the card and the evening's co-main event. It's Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas with Zhang's strawweight title on the line. Namajunas is attempting to win back the title she lost via a slam KO against Andrade.

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Shevchenko took Andrade for a ride, scoring another takedown, hitting her seventh takedown of the fight. Shevchenko locked up a crucifix and began dropping clean punches and elbows to Andrade's face. Elbow after elbow came down and the fight was stopped by the ref. Complete and utter domination for Shevchenko. One of the most impressive performances in an already incredible career. Official result: Valentina Shevchenko def. Jessica Andrade via TKO (strikes), Round 2

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Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Jessica Andrade -- Round 2: Shevchenko threw a few heavy lead hooks before clinching and scoring with an early takedown. Andrade managed to force her way back to the feet and immediately tried for a takedown of her own, but Shevchenko defended successfully twice.

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Shevchenko finished another takedown late in the round, her fifth official takedown of the round, not doing much with it before the horn to signal the end of the round. Unofficial score: 10-9 Shevchenko

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Shevchenko scored with yet another takedown along the cage, having already damaged Andrade's face on the feet. Shevchenko then moved to try and lock in a rear-naked choke but didn't have the position. After giving up on the submission, Shevchenko remained locked up on Andrade, landing knees to the legs and a few to the head as Andrade stood.

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Andrade tried to get inside and Shevchenko took her down. Andrade got back to her feet and Shevchenko took her right back down, though Andrade moved back to her feet again. After a third takedown, Andrade finally got up and managed to get out of the clutches of Shevchenko, but ate some heavy punches from the champion.

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Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Jessica Andrade -- Round 1: Andrade missed with an early leg kick and Shevchenko hit one in return before having a head kick blocked. Andrade tried to explode forward with a punch and Shevchenko slid backward out of the way and landed a one-two combo.

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Our first title fight is up next as Valentina Shevchenko defends her women's flyweight title against Jessica Andrade.

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Weidman was taken off on a stretcher. Appeared to be an open fracture with the bone coming through the skin. A truly horrible situation for one of the most well-liked fighters on the UFC roster.

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Chris Weidman vs. Uriah Hall -- Round 1: Weidman threw a massive leg kick and he took a step backward and his leg had snapped in half. The fight is immediately over. Hall will win by TKO, but this is a horrible situation for Weidman, who famously won his rematch with Anderson Silva when Silva broke his leg throwing a leg kick. Official result: Uriah Hall def. Chris Weidman via TKO (injury), Round 1.

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Of note, this matchup opened as even on William Hill Sportsbook at -110 for each fighter. Weidman will enter the cage as a -170 favorite now. Pretty massive swing for a man that's 2-5 facing a knockout artist and riding a three-fight win streak in Hall.

April 25, 2021, 2:42 AM
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