UFC 261 Betting Market Report: Usman, Shevchenko & Weili All Attracting Action As Heavy Favorites
Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kamaru Usman
Sportsbooks will be rooting for underdogs in the title fights at UFC 261 on Saturday night, as considerable action comes in on champions Kamaru Usman, Valentina Shevchenko and Zhang Weili.
The pay-per-view, which begins at 10 p.m. ET, features a trio of championship fights, including the main-event rematch between Usman and the challenger Jorge Masvidal for the welterweight title. Masvidal was a last-minute replacement for Gilbert Burns, filling in on six days’ notice at UFC 251 in July when Usman won by decision.
Money is pouring in on the champion Usman, who has moved from an opening favorite of -305 all the way to -450 in the hours before the rematch. Usman, a perfect 13-0 in the UFC, has taken 79% of bets at PointsBet and 75% of total money wagered on the fight, also known as handle. Nine of those 13 wins have come via decision, although he’s finished two of his last three fights.
Weili will defend her women’s strawweight title against former champion Rose Namajunas. Weili opened as a -175 favorite, moving to -210 while taking 76% of bets and 81% of the handle. Both Weili and Namajunas are coming off split-decision victories. Weili’s -210 price makes her the shortest favorite of the three champions fighting Saturday night.
Shevchenko will look to defend her flyweight title once again, and once again she’s a heavy favorite. Shevchenko moved from a -350 favorite to -475 against challenger Jessica Andrade, who is moving up to flyweight. Andrade lost her strawweight title to Weili.
Out of all five fights on the main card, no one has taken a higher percentage of bets and handle than Shevchenko, with 92% of wagers and 93% of dollars backing the champion.
In the other two fights on the main card, Chris Weidman flipped from an underdog to a -135 favorite against Uriah Hall. Meanwhile, Jimmy Crute (-210) has taken 81% of bets but that makes up just 58% of the total handle against Anthony Smith (+165).