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NASCAR at Talladega, MLB, three UFC title fights fill weekend sports schedule

Denny Hamlin is the favorite to win the 2021 Geico 500 Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. File Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI
Denny Hamlin is the favorite to win the 2021 Geico 500 Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. File Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | License Photo

April 23 (UPI) -- Two NASCAR races at Talladega Superspeedway, three UFC title fights and dozens of MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS regular season games fill the weekend sports schedule.

The racing action gets underway with an Xfinity Series race Saturday in Talladega, Ala., and ends with a Cup Series race Sunday at the 2.66-mile track. Both events air on Fox.

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Pole winner and Cup Series standings leader Denny Hamlin is the favorite to win the Geico 500 at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday at Talladega.

The 188-lap race features three stages. The first and second stages are each 60 laps. The final stage is a 68-lap sprint to the finish line. Hamlin, a Top 5 finisher in eight of nine races this season, will try for his first win of 2021.

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Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott are among the other betting favorites to win at Talladega.

Xfinity Series drivers start their engines in the Ag-Pro 300 at 4 p.m. EDT Saturday at Talladega.

UFC title fights

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A welterweight title fight rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal headlines UFC 261 on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.

Two more title fights join the main event on the crowded card. The first title fight is a women's lightweight bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade.

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Weili Zhang battles Rose Namajunas in the co-main event for the women's strawweight title. The first fight on the main card is a light heavyweight match between Anthony Smith and Jimmy Crute. Uriah Hall then fights Chris Weidman in a middleweight bout.

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The main card for UFC 261 starts at 10 p.m. EDT Saturday and airs on ESPN+. Usman, Weilli and Shevchenko are betting favorites to win their title fights.

Usman (18-1) ended a four-fight winning streak for Masvidal (35-14-0) on July 11 at UFC 251. Usman enters UFC 261 on a 17-fight winning streak. He hasn't loss since 2013. He beat Tyron Woodley for the welterweight belt in 2019.

NBA games

Several great NBA matchups air this weekend on national TV. The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets tip off the action at 7:30 p.m. EDT Friday on ESPN.

Sharpshooter Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors host the Denver Nuggets in Friday's nightcap at 10 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

The New York Knicks host the Toronto Raptors at 1 p.m. EDT Saturday on ESPN. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks host Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

Then, Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks host the Los Angeles Lakers at 8:30 p.m. EDT on ABC.

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ESPN airs two games Sunday afternoon. The Charlotte Hornets host the Boston Celtics in the first matchup at 1 p.m. EDT. Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets host the Phoenix Suns at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Friday

MLB

Brewers at Cubs at 2:20 p.m. EDT on MLB Network (Out of market only)

Padres at Dodgers at 10:10 p.m. EDT on MLB Network

NHL

Bruins at Sabres at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Flyers at Rangers at 7 p.m. EDT on NHL Network

Predators at Blackhawks at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Wild at Kings at 10 p.m. EDT on NHL Network

NBA

Celtics at Nets at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN

Nuggets at Warriors at 10 p.m. EDT on ESPN

MLS

Sporting K.C. vs. Orlando Pride at 7:30 p.m. EDT on FS1

Saturday

NHL

Devils at Penguins at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NHL Network

Avalanche at Blues at 3 p.m. EDT on NBC

Maple Leafs at Jets at 7 p.m. EDT on NHL Network

Capitals at Islanders at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Golden Knights at Ducks at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

NBA

Raptors at Knicks at 1 p.m. EDT on ESPN

76ers at Bucks at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN

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Lakers at Mavericks at 8:30 p.m. EDT on ABC

MLS

NYCFC vs. Cincinnati at 1 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Nashville vs. Montreal at 2 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Toronto vs. Vancouver at 3 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

San Jose vs. Dallas at 3:30 p.m. EDT on TUDN

LAFC vs. Seattle at 6 p.m. EDT on ESPN

Atlanta vs. Chicago at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Minnesota vs. Salt Lake at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

New England vs. D.C. United at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Philadelphia vs. Miami at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Colorado vs. Austin at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Portland VS. Houston at 10:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

MLB

Royals at Tigers at 1:10 p.m. EDT on MLB Network (Out of market only)

Marins at Red Sox at 1:10 p.m. EDT on MLB Network (Out of market only)

Nationals at Mets at 4:05 p.m. EDT on FS1

Rangers at White Sox at 7:10 p.m. EDT on FS1

Marlins at Giants at 9:05 p.m. EDT on MLB Network (Out of market only)

Padres at Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. EDT on MLB Network

NASCAR

Xfinity Series Ag-Pro 300 at 4 p.m. EDT on Fox

UFC 261 on ESPN+

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Anthony Smith vs. Jimmy Crute at 10 p.m. EDT

Uriah Hall vs. Chris Weidman after first fight

Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade after second fight

Weili Zhang vs. Rose Namajunas after third fight

Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal after fourth fight

Sunday

NBA

Celtics at Hornets at 1 p.m. EDT on ESPN

Suns at Nets at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN

MLB

Yankees at Indians at 1:10 p.m. EDT on MLB Network (Out of market only)

Mariners at Red Sox at 1:10 p.m. EDT on MLB Network (Out of market only)

Padres at Dodgers at 7:08 p.m. EDT on ESPN

NASCAR

Cup Series Geico 500 at 2 p.m. EDT on Fox

NHL

Bruins at Penguins at 3 p.m. EDT on NBC

Devils at Flyers at 6 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Sabres at Rangers at 6 p.m. EDT on ESPN+

Blue Jackets at Lightning at 7 p.m. EDT on NBCSN

MLS

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls at 5:30 p.m. EDT on FS1

This week in Major League Baseball

San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. looks to the sky as he crosses the plate after hitting a leadoff solo home run in the first inning off Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitcher Trevor Bauer at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Dodgers held on to win 5-4. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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