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UFC 261: Main card, how to watch and what you need to know

Ever since March 14, 2020, the UFC has been forced to operate with empty arenas or limited attendance as it relates to its pay-per-view events.

On April 24, 2021, that 13-month stretch for Dana White and company will come to an end as fight fans pack into an arena for UFC 261.

After setting up shop in Las Vegas and on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, the UFC will descend on Jacksonville, Florida for a loaded card featuring three championship fights.

>>RELATED: UFC 261: Dana White announces star-studded card for full-capacity arena

One of those bouts will look familiar to those who followed the UFC throughout 2020, as UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman defends his title against Jorge Masvidal for the second time in less than a year.

Masvidal notoriously stepped in on short notice for the duo’s first tilt in July 11, 2020, replacing Gilbert Burns just six days before UFC 251 went live on Fight Island.

Now, fight fans will see if Masvidal can back up his claims that he can beat Usman after a full camp, or if Usman can settle the score once and for all in Masvidal’s home state.

Before the star-studded main event, the thousands in attendance at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena will be treated to two top-tier women’s title fights, highlighted by a co-main event between UFC women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili and challenger Rose Namajunas.

>>RELATED: Trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier set for UFC 264 in July

Clocking in midway through the main card, UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will defend her belt against Jessica Andrade.

Rounding out the main card, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman will look to return to the division’s top 10 in a fight against ninth-ranked Uriah Hall, and former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith will square off with 13th-ranked Jim Crute in the night’s opening bout.

As we get closer and closer to one of 2021’s most anticipated cards, here’s the key information you need to know before UFC 261 goes live from Jacksonville.

When is UFC 261?

UFC 261 will start at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

Where is UFC 261 taking place?

UFC 261 will be broadcast live from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

UFC 261 main card:

Main event for the UFC Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman (c) vs. Jorge Masvidal (4)

Women’s Strawweight Championship bout: Zhang Weili (c) vs. Rose Namajunas (1)

Women’s Flyweight Championship bout: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade (1)

Middleweight bout: Uriah Hall (9) vs. Chris Weidman (11)

Light Heavyweight bout: Anthony Smith (6) vs. Jim Crute (13)

How can I watch the UFC 261 main card and prelims?

You can buy the UFC 261 main card on ESPN+, and you can watch prelims at 8 p.m. ET on both ESPN and ESPN+. Early prelims will start at 5:45 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.

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