Usman-Masvidal rematch headlines stacked UFC 261, with Jacksonville to welcome back full crowd

UFC

Kamara Usman will defend his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal in front of a full crowd at UFC 261 on April 24.

Not since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 has a UFC card gone ahead without a cap on crowd numbers, but that will change in Jacksonville, Florida next month.

Usman's rematch with Masvidal headlines a stacked line-up at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, where 15,000 fans are set to attend for two other title fights, including women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko's bout with Jessica Andrade and the women's strawweight battle between champion Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas.

VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena previously hosted the first three UFC shows following a two-month hiatus in May due to COVID-19, though they went ahead without fans behind closed doors.

"I have been waiting a year for this day to tell you: We are back," UFC president Dana White said in the video via Twitter on Monday.

Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry tweeted: "@danawhite, @GovRonDeSantis, and I will continue to demonstrate that Florida is poised to safely host signature sporting events watched globally. Welcome back to Jacksonville @ufc. Let's go @danawhite."

Usman (18-1), who defeated Gilbert Burns via a third-round TKO last month, has made history in the UFC.

The Nigerian-born fighter has won 13 consecutive fights – the most in UFC welterweight history.

Usman defeated Masvidal (35-14) by unanimous decision at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi last July, though the latter was a late replacement after Burns had tested positive for coronavirus.


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