JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Ultimate Fighting Championship is headed back to Jacksonville with a blockbuster card and one very important addition: fans.
UFC 261 -- a pay-per-view show -- will be held April 24 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena with a maximum capacity crowd allowed to attend, the promotion announced on Monday night.
The UFC held three events in Jacksonville last May, including UFC 249, in the first live sporting event held during the pandemic. Initially, UFC was going to hold this event at their facility in Nevada, but that would not have allowed for as many as 15,000 fans to pay to watch in person. Here in Jacksonville, they’ll have the chance to do just that.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry posted on Twitter about the event:
@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 https://t.co/M8UQqz5cID— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) March 16, 2021
UFC president Dana White told News4JAX in an interview last May that the promotion would return to Jacksonville when it was possible to have fans, thanks to the city serving as host for the 2020 events.
White kept his word and is bringing a serious lineup of fights to town as a thank you. There are three championship fights on the card.
The welterweight championship rematch between Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal headlines the event, but the women’s battles take center stage.
A women’s flyweight championship between Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade, and a strawweight championship clash between Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas are also on the card.
“I just want to say, thank you Jacksonville. I love you guys. And we’ll see you soon,” White said in the promotional video.
Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will have a rematch with Florida’s Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261. Valentina Shevchenko will defend her flyweight title against Jessica Andrade, and strawweight champ Zhang Weili will face former champion Rose Namajunas.