The UFC 261 match up between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal looks set to be a cracking fight when the two face off on April 24 in Jacksonville in front of a packed VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
In the case of Masvidal, he’s made his intentions clear that he’s looking for revenge after losing the first bout between the pair at UFC 251 last year. Rewind to the first fight, and Masvidal was a late replacement for Gilbert Burns, which left him just six days to prepare before he embarked on an arduous journey to Abu Dhabi. Upon taking into account he had to lose 20 pounds to make weight compounded issues for him, meaning he wasn’t at his absolute best.
“[The weight cut] wasn’t fun. It was a lot of weight. I was 35 at the time. As you get older, the weight [cut] just sucks, you know? The last three pounds took longer than the first 17. Just trying to get those last three pounds out was a headache and a half. I don’t have to do that now for this fight. As I stand right now, I’m nine pounds away from the weight class, just ready to rock and roll.
“When I got to 18 pounds [off], I started like, ‘Wow, this hurts,’ but all I kept thinking is, ‘It’ll mean nothing if I go out there and knock this guy out, so I’m going to make the weight like a man,’ because I’ve never missed weight,” he said. “I signed that dotted line. Let’s compete. I’m going to make this weight. If not, then I shouldn’t have taken the fight. That would have been the coward’s way out. I made sure I made the weight and then gave it my best.”
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Although Masvidal will certainly head into the fight in a much better position to challenge, the tough to beat Usman, who’s won 13 fights in a row, will be a truly formidable foe. In excellent shape and raring to go, the current welterweight champion is understandably the betting favourite, with him priced at 1.29 and Masvidal at 3.85.
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Boasting a UFC record of 18-1 and in the prime of his career, it would take a brave man to not back “The Nigerian Nightmare” to register his second victory over Masvidal after ousting him by unanimous decision in their first fight.
With fans returning to the stands to watch these two elite fighters going toe to toe, they should be in for a real treat, as Masvidal will be looking for an upset over the in-form champion Usman.