Published on : 12/07/2020 – 08:44
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman shone at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday July 12. The “Nigerian Nightmare” delivered a wrestling combat model to dominate the American Jorge Masvidal, beaten without discussion on points. It is the 2nd successful belt defense of Kamaru Usman.
And from 12. Kamaru Usman now has 12 victories in the Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC), and in total 17 victories for a single defeat at the professional level in mixed martial arts (MMA). The welterweight champion did not tremble in the Flash Forum of the island of Yas, in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, theater of the UFC 251. He won the big fight of the evening against Jorge Masvidal.
Puncher versus wrestler
After the defeat of his designated opponent, the Brazilian Gilbert Burns, due to a positive test at Covid-19, Cameroon Usman was looking for a new fighter to face. And so it was the American Masvidal, 3rd in the category, who took up the challenge, six days before the meeting. The 35-year-old veteran wanted to get into the octagon and the Nigerian hate each other. In February, they almost came to blows on a radio show. And in this sport where we fight with the body but also with the words, the two welterweight have some answer.
Once face to face, in the deserted arena – pandemic obliges – of Abu Dhabi, the confrontation however quickly turned in favor of the title holder. The predictions were not mistaken: Usman, younger (33 years), taller (1.83m against 1.80m) and above all better prepared, rolled out an effective strategy against Masvidal.
If the challenger, designated UFC Fighter of the Year 2019, is renowned for his punching qualities, which notably allowed him to sign the fastest knockout in the history of the UFC – five seconds! – against Ben Askren a year ago (knee kick to the face), the champion is rather specialist in wrestling. And after entering the octagon with the Nigerian flag on his back, Kamaru Usman showed why he was confident.
Kamaru Usman establishes dominance in welterweight
Jorge Masvidal almost never could deploy his technique, blocked as he was by the constant pressure of his opponent. Held against the wire fence by a Usman who worked his body incessantly, the American remained for long minutes in a defensive position. Fatigue was gradually invited, the fight inexorably shifted in favor of the champion, applied in his strategy. It is not very spectacular, but it is terrible effective, and that is the only goal.
Once the five rounds of five minutes each ended, the two fighters greeted each other respectfully, before the counting of the referees confirmed the victory of the one who is nicknamed the “Nigerian Nightmare”. At the end of this MMA meeting in the “Fight Island” – an island isolated to avoid the risks linked to the coronavirus – that wanted the president of the UFC Dana White, Kamaru Usman leaves with his belt, like last December facing another American, Colby Covington.
And the message sent is clear: it will be difficult to wrest his title from this wrestler in full possession of his means. Conor McGregor, who said he wanted to challenge the Nigerian before recently taking yet another retirement, is warned.