Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman kept his title with an unanimous decision success over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 which was held on ‘Battle Island’ in Abu Dhabi.
The emirate’s Yas Island has actually been transformed into a closed-off fight zone able to stage four UFC events in July after UFC President Dana White secured it.
Masvidal was prepared in at six days observe to deal with Nigerian Usman and the American could not find a response to Usman’s effective fumbling video game.
The 33- year-old successfully protected his belt with a gritty display to earn ratings of 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 from the 3 judges after five gruelling rounds in an “octagon in the sand” without viewers.
Authorities set up a security zone including an arena, hotel, training centers and a dining establishment which will only be open to fighters, coaches, UFC personnel and other occasion personnel.
There are more than 2,500 UFC personnel and Yas Island workers remaining within the zone, with all regional staff having actually been in quarantine for 14 days.
Usman should have been combating Gilbert Burns in the first centerpiece of the four-event run but the Brazilian evaluated positive for coronavirus so Masvidal actioned in.
The 35- year-old American discovered a home for his strikes early on as he started the faster of the pair. He had a clear speed and precision benefit in the striking department and he stung the champ with multiple shots throughout the opening exchanges, while nullifying Usman’s early takedown attempts.
But Usman exerted continuous pressure on the challenger as he denied Masvidal the time and space to throw his strikes. Usman aimed to use his clinch work to use on Masvidal, with much of the 2nd round spent versus the cage in a prolonged and gruelling exchange. The tradition of the round was a nasty cut above Masvidal’s right eye, thanks to an unexpected clash of heads.
A big slam takedown from Usman was the most significant minute of the third round as the champion continued to smother Masvidal’s striking.
That pattern duplicated through the final 2 rounds as Usman closed down Masvidal, who had made his shot at the title with a trio of blockage triumphes over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz in 2019.
Usman’s triumph enhanced his record to 17 -1 and extended his winning streak to 12 battles in the UFC.
” Jorge is a tough guy and I offer him credit for that,” said Usman.
” They call him ‘Gamebred’ for a factor – he’s constantly game to eliminate. I’m simply a level better. I have more tools in the tool kit.”
Volkanovski maintains featherweight title
In the night’s co-main occasion, Alexander Volkanovski, 31, kept his featherweight title by edging a split-decision decision after five tight, tense rounds with former champ Max Holloway.
Australian Volkanovski, who beat Holloway through unanimous choice to dethrone the Hawaiian and win the 145 lb title at UFC 245 in December, was dropped in the very first 2 rounds of the rematch. He had to fight his method back into the contest as he declared the last 3 rounds to reject Holloway revenge.
Regardless of having to train in near-isolation in his home town of Waianae, Holloway, 28, appeared to have made the needed changes from their very first conference, which saw Volkanovski hold the edge in the striking exchanges.
Holloway briefly dropped Volkanovski with a head kick at the end of the opening round, then repeated the trick with an uppercut at the end of the second as he began the sharper of the 2.
The 3rd round saw Volkanovski begin to work his way back into the contest with the closest round of the battle, before outmatching the former champ through the 4th and 5th rounds to take the fight to the scorecards.
Volkanovski wound up edging a split choice with ratings of 47-48, 48-47 and 48-47 to extend his winning streak to 19 fights, including 9 in the UFC.
” I understood it was two rounds each entering into that last round. I needed to win that last round,” said Volkanovski.
Yan catches bantamweight title
In the very first title battle of the night, Russian bantamweight Petr Yan demolished two-time former featherweight champion Jose Aldo to capture the vacant bantamweight title.
Yan, 27, registered an incredible 194 substantial strikes – a UFC record – en route to a fifth-round TKO surface of Aldo as he signed up with light-weight king Khabib Nurmagomedov as Russia’s second UFC champion.
Yan stung Aldo in the opening 90 seconds with a big right-hand man and appeared to have the Brazilian terribly hurt with a body shot in the closing seconds of the opening round as the Russian took charge early. However Aldo started to discover a routine home for his powerful leg kicks as he worked his method back into the contest in round 2.
With the fight in the balance heading into round 3, Yan pushed the speed and worked Aldo relentlessly to the body and head as he started to sap the Brazilian’s gas tank.
Then, as Aldo slowed in the championship rounds, Yan showed up the heat as he battered his opponent with ground strikes up until referee Leon Roberts waved off the fight at the 3: 24 mark of the last round.
After the battle, Yan paid homage to his challenger, then named the male he wishes to face in his first title defence.
” Aldo is a legend. I have only regard for him,” he said.
” My department has extremely tough fighters in the top five. The top contender is Aljamain Sterling. I will battle everyone. I like it, it’s my task.”
- Grounded with Louis Theroux: Top 10 most unexpected celeb revelations of the series
- 15 memorable sporting minutes from the ’90 s: Italia 90, Denise Lewis, Tiger Woods and the Chicago Bulls
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe