Kamaru Usman, Weili Zhang heavy UFC 261 favorites
UFC 261 features a pair of title fights with heavy favorites, but distinctly different betting patterns by the public leading up to Saturday night’s card.
BetRivers announced that no event this weekend has attracted more bets or handle at the sportsbook than UFC 261.
Zhang Weili (21-1), the UFC’s first Chinese-born champ, puts her strawweight belt on the line against former titleholder Rose Namajunas (10-4). Weili is a -200 favorite at DraftKings, where she has been backed by 67 percent of the money and 62 percent of the bets.
Weili has won 21 straight bouts, most recently a split decision over former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk that was a consensus pick for 2020 Fight of the Year. Namajunas has won four of her past five.
The main event is a welterweight title rematch of South Floridians, as champion Kamaru Usman (18-1) once again defends his title against Jorge Masvidal. The duo squared off just last summer at UFC 251, and the issue seemed settled as Usman earned a one-sided, unanimous decision.
However, Masvidal had accepted the bout on a week’s notice, and has chirped since that things would be different with a full training camp. Usman, for his part, decided to oblige Masvidal (35-14), who hasn’t fought since the loss, to shut him up once and for all.
“No more excuses out of this guy,” said Usman, who has won all 13 of his UFC fights. “He gets his training camp and this time I’m finishing the job.”
While Usman is the -455 favorite at DraftKings, Masvidal (+350) has been backed by 67 percent of the money. Some big bets have skewed the handle toward Masvidal, with Usman supported by 58 percent of the total bets at the book.
At BetRivers, Usman (-435) has been backed by 84 percent of the handle and 81 percent of the bets to defeat Masvidal (+320). Usman opened at -400 and has only seen those odds shorten, with the largest wager at the book being a $7,000 bet on Usman with a potential payout of $8,750.
In the women’s flyweight title bout, Valentina Shevchenko (-455) has been backed by 96 percent of the money and 92 percent of the fight bets to retain her title against Jessica Andrade (+350). She is the strongest favorite on the card at BetRivers, where the largest current bet is a $6,500 wager on Shevchenko to win with a potential $8,125 payout.
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