UFC 251: Usman Beats Jorge Masvidal To Retain Title

By Ibrahim Taiwo, The Nigerian Voice Sports

Nigeria's Kamaru Usman retained his Welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 which was held on 'Fight Island' in Abu Dhabi.

The Usman successfully defended his belt with a resolute display to earn scores of 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 from the three judges after five gruelling rounds.

The main event in Abu Dhabi was supposed to be Usman vs Gilbert Burns, but after he and his coach tested positive for coronavirus, they had to withdraw from fight night.

The American found a home for his strikes early on as he started the faster of the pair. He had a clear speed and accuracy advantage in the striking department and he stung the champion with multiple shots during the opening exchanges, while preventing Usman's early takedown attempts.

But Usman exerted consistent pressure as he denied Masvidal the time and space to throw his strikes. Usman looked to use his clinch work to wear on Masvidal, with much of the second round spent against the cage in a lengthy and gruelling exchange. The highlight of the round was a nasty cut above Masvidal's right eye, courtesy of an accidental clash of heads.

A huge slam takedown from Usman was the biggest moment of the third round as the champion continued to smother Masvidal's striking.

That pattern repeated through the final two rounds as Usman shut down Masvidal.

After the win Usman said, "Jorge is a tough guy and I give him credit for that,"

"They call him 'Gamebred' for a reason - he's always game to fight. I'm just a level better. I have more tools in the toolbox."

Usman's victory improved his record to 17-1 and extended his winning streak to 12 fights in the UFC.