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Zhang Weili at UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Louis Grasse/PX Images/Icon Sportswire)
April 22nd, 2021
UFC 261 is right around the corner on Saturday, April 24, and we have five tantalizing picks to help build your bankroll.
Jim Crute has finished everyone he’s defeated in the UFC, and Anthony Smith is a burned out veteran taking the fight on short notice. Crute is in the highlight-reel spot, and with Smith’s shaky chin to go along with his poor defense, it shouldn’t take Crute long to hit paydirt and put him out.
Though Valentina Shevchenko will outclass Jessica Andrade, she’s unlikely to mow her down. Andrade isn’t getting a lot of love, but she is a capable striker and won’t be wiped out.
The likely outcome is Shevchenko delivering a methodical performance that goes the distance. It will end with her hand being raised in victory, and a cool +138 to go with it.
Late money has come in on the badly faded Chris Weidman, who has only won two fights over the last five years. In each of his five losses, Weidman was stopped.
Uriah Hall may not be the class of the middleweight division, but he’s the fresher of the two and is hellbent on avenging an early career loss. Take Hall by any finish while the odds are still good.
Zhang Weili is going to have her hands full against Rose Namajunas, but she has enough firepower to outlast the ex-champ as long as she doesn’t get taken down.
Both women are going to be coming at each other with everything they’ve got, but Weili’s raw strength means that a war of attrition is only going to go her way. This might be the last time we’ll see her at -200, so take the moneyline.
In our preview for the main event, we said Kamaru Usman faces a stiffer challenge from Jorge Masvidal this time around. Usman mauled Masvidal, leaving him exhausted in a dominant display.
This time, Usman will make a point to punish his overmatched foe. Usman should make a statement and finish Masvidal off inside the distance.
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