Dana White has made the announcement that all fans have been waiting for – with the next event set to host its first full-capacity event in over a year.
UFC 261 is set to take on 24th April in Jacksonville Florida at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena for the second time in 11 months, in a sudden change of the norm since the coronavirus pandemic began.
White, president of the mixed martial arts organisation, revealed in a video posted to his official Twitter account that he had been “waiting a year” to tell fans that “we are back.”
The main event on the title-stacked card will be the rematch of the current Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to take on Jorge Masvidal for the second time.
Women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will take on Jessica Andrade while strawweight title-holder Zhang Weili defends her crown against Rose Namajunas.
But the real question is – how many fans will be allowed into the arena to watch? White provided the answer. He stated that Jacksonville will be a “full crowd” with 15,000 fans permitted to be in attendance for the big fight night.
The same location was the first stop for the UFC on 9th May 2020, the first major United States event since the coronavirus pandemic paused sport across the country for almost two months.
That event, UFC 249, was held behind closed doors which saw Francis Ngannou inflict a devastating knockout on Jairzinho Rozenstruik after just 20 seconds of the first round, with Tony Ferguson beating Justin Gaethje and Henry Cejudo conquering Dominick Cruz.
Among the main attractions in Jacksonville will be the second of a double-header between Usman and Masvidal, who previously faced each other at UFC 251 which Usman won by unanimous decision in a hard-fought contest. Whether the presence of fans will have any impact on the outcome, remains to be seen.
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