A memorable night at UFC 261 ended with a trio of knockouts in the evening's three title fights, with the main event victory of Kamaru Usman and the co-main event win by Rose Namajunas likely to end up on highlight reels for years to come.
Namajunas lost the UFC strawweight championship at UFC 237, when Jessica Andrade took a fight that Namajunas seemingly had control of and literally dropped Namajunas on her head. After avenging that loss to Andrade in 2020, Namajunas stepped into UFC 261 on Saturday, two years after losing her title, with a chance to win back the belt against Zhang Weili. It took just over one minute, and with one kick and a few punches on the ground, Namajunas stunned Zhang and became the two-time strawweight champ with a flourish.
In the co-main event of the evening, Namajunas rocked Zhang with that knockout, to the delight of the capacity crowd at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville -- including the commentary team -- and those watching at home were similarly excited about the moment on social media.
Wowwww congrats Rose 🌹 #ufc261 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) April 25, 2021
Amazing performance from Thug Rose! Weili is a beast. #ufc261— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) April 25, 2021
LOVE PAT BARRY ENERGY!!— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) April 25, 2021
"YOU DA BEST EVA!!"#UFC261
OHHH MYYY GODDD!!!! THUG ROSEEE THUG ROSEEEE #UFC261— Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) April 25, 2021
So glad to see rose back on top 😊 #ufc261— Flash Garrett ⚡️ (@MylesLGarrett) April 25, 2021
Thug Rose got me emotional.. 😂😂— Kyler Murray (@K1) April 25, 2021
When I first trained with Thug Rose, all I could think was "Damn, she's a 115er?!?" #UFC261— Shayna Baszler (@QoSBaszler) April 25, 2021
Whaaaat! She did it again! #UFC261— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) April 25, 2021
Usman's KO of Masvidal gets all the reactions out of Anik, Rogan and DC
Joe Rogan, Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier all have incredible reactions to Kamaru Usman's big-time knockout of Jorge Masvidal.
Then, in the evening's main event, Usman fought Jorge Masvidal in a standup-heavy fight and scored a tremendous knockout of his own to close out the night. Unlike their first fight, which Masvidal took on one week's notice, there were no excuses to be made. Despite fighting in front of one of the friendliest crowds imaginable in his home state of Florida, Masvidal crumpled when Usman landed a big swinging punch a minute into the second round.
Social media similarly exploded following Usman's victory.
Talk about a baptism #UFC261— Jared Gordon (@JFlashGordonMMA) April 25, 2021
Greatest Welterweight of ALL TIME!! Jesus!! That right hand was a missile!! #UFC261— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) April 25, 2021
Usman is the TRUTH!!! 😳 #UFC261— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) April 25, 2021
Wow! If you didn't respect him before you better now. And of course Masvidal always humble in defeat! 🙏🏽#UFC261— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) April 25, 2021
The right hand was money all night @USMAN84kg 🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿 that boy different— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) April 25, 2021
I love you @GamebredFighter— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) April 25, 2021