UFC 261: Embedded, Episode 6: Francis Ngannou, Kamaru Usman, and Justin Gaethje play basketball ahead of weigh-ins

Kamaru Usman (right); Francis Ngannou (left). (Image credits: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship via YouTube)
Kamaru Usman (right); Francis Ngannou (left). (Image credits: UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship via YouTube)
Bhavesh Purohit

UFC 261 is set to take place this Saturday, April 24. The stacked card will be headlined by Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Both welterweights previously competed against each other last year at UFC 251, where Usman successfully defended his belt for the third time.

Ahead of the UFC 261 ceremonial weigh-ins on Friday, The Nigerian Nightmare appeared to be in a jovial mood. Usman decided to kill some time by playing basketball with his teammate, Justin Gaethje, and the newly-crowned UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou.

"It was great, we came in here (LA Fitness) and they had a basketball court. Justin Gaethje went and grabbed the ball, and it was cool because we all just started playing basketball. Francis (Ngannou) came in today, and just to see Kamaru (Usman) lighten up, it was great," said Usman's coach, Trevor Wittman.

Usman weighed 169.5 lbs when he stepped on the scale at the weigh-ins, whereas Masvidal hit the perfect 170 lbs limit. Gamebred reportedly cut 20 pounds in six days during his last fight against Usman.

According to Masvidal, not having to cut excessive weight will help him emerge victorious at UFC 261. The 36-year-old also claimed he would be able to score a finish against Usman, unlike the first time they locked horns at UFC 251.

UFC 261 will host a trio of championship fights

Apart from the title fight between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal, UFC 261 will host two more championship bouts.

UFC strawweight champion Zhang Weili will go up against Rose Namajunas in the co-headliner of the pay-per-view event. The Chinese fighter is coming off a five-round war opposite Joanna Jedrzejczyk, where she eked out a close split decision win.

UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will also defend her belt against Jessica Andrade at UFC 261. Bullet is on a six-fight win streak and has overpowered all the top women's flyweight contenders since losing to Amanda Nunes in 2017.

Meanwhile, Andrade has moved up a weight class after her loss to Namajunas last year. The 29-year-old Brazilian defeated Katlyn Chookagian in her flyweight debut and established herself as the No.1 contender in the division.

Edited by Zaid Khan
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