ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Kamaru Usman retained his welterweight title with a smothering victory about shorter-see challenger Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 on Sunday.
Alexander Volkanovski retained his featherweight title with a slim break up conclusion in excess of Max Holloway, and Petr Yan received the vacant UFC bantamweight championship with a fifth-spherical stoppage victory around José Aldo on Yas Island, the UAE tourist vacation spot turned into a protected bubble by the UFC in the course of the coronavius pandemic.
Former strawweight winner Rose Namajunas avenged her loss to Jéssica Andrade with a break up-choice get in their rematch on the UFC’s so-known as “Fight Island.” The combined martial arts marketing will host 4 displays this thirty day period at the arena, with more expected in the future months at its haven from the coronavirus.
Usman (17-1) acquired his 16th straight MMA victory and defended his belt for the next time with a cerebral, technical overall performance in opposition to the 35-yr-old Masvidal (35-14), who gallantly accepted his first UFC title shot on six days’ detect when Gilbert Burns analyzed constructive for the coronavirus.
“[Masvidal] is the most important, baddest dude out there proper now,” Usman mentioned. “I experienced to swap gears and put together for him on 6 days’ see. I know a good deal was built of him taking the struggle on short notice, but all these men are getting ready for one person, and that is me at the leading of the mountain. I experienced to make a mental shift. I experienced a fully various activity strategy.”
Masvidal was eager for a knockout, and the previous yard brawler came out swinging in an remarkable initial round. But when Masvidal’s wind faded, Usman coolly took cost with wrestling takedowns, foot stomps and considered strikes mixed with remarkable conditioning.
Two judges scored it 50-45 for Usman, and a 3rd had it 49-46.
Some followers may well have booed Usman’s strategy, but there were being no admirers inside the short term arena. UFC 251 commenced very well right before dawn Sunday early morning in Abu Dhabi to satisfy the time calls for of the profitable North American pay out-per-check out audience, and the sunshine rose as the card progressed.
Volkanovski (22-1) acquired his 19th consecutive MMA victory given that 2013 by a razor-slim margin, profitable 48-47 on two of the three cards when his leg kicks and takedowns gained the selection over Holloway’s in general putting video game.
“It was a difficult fight,” Volkanovski said. “He stood there and did not actually just take a backward stage. I could not use the kicks as a great deal as I appreciated. I knew I had to win that final spherical. It’s tough. He’s a gamer. We’re the two difficult workers, but I received the task accomplished.”
The Australian champion received his belt previous December with a virtuoso technological overall performance against Holloway (21-6), who had reigned atop the division for the past three many years.
In the rematch, Holloway showed off yet another stage of his superb hanging capabilities while weathering dozens extra leg kicks from Volkanovski, who relied mainly on that strike to acquire the first bout. Holloway mainly controlled the 1st two rounds, but Volkanovski greater his output commencing in the 3rd spherical and included a couple takedowns to bolster his situation with the judges.
A few title belts had been on the line on the very same card for only the sixth time in UFC historical past, and Yan (15-1) claimed the 1st just one by persevering for a beating of Aldo (28-7), the previous featherweight champion dethroned by Conor McGregor in 2015.
Yan weathered an inspired start by Aldo, and finally proven his dominance with superior striking. Following Yan battered a bloody Aldo into a turtled place on the canvas in the fifth round, referee Leon Roberts permitted the struggle to keep on for an alarming amount of time before stopping it with 1:36 still left.
“I predicted it to be a tough battle,” Yan mentioned by means of an interpreter. “That was our system, to get him fatigued early on, and then in the third spherical, commence attacking.”
Aldo has lost a few straight fights and 6 of his last 9, but he brought on challenges for Yan early on till the younger Russian took in excess of.
Namajunas (9-4) returned from a 14-month break because Andrade (20-8) claimed her title with an upset victory, astonishing the champ with a physique slam after Namajunas dominated the early fight.
Namajunas never ever permitted an prospect for Andrade to complete her in the rematch, dominating the initial two rounds with her slick hanging and fluid motion. Andrade rallied in the third and terribly harmed Namajunas’ nose and still left eye, but Namajunas won 29-28 on two judges’ scorecards.
“I was just in the ideal point out of brain,” Namajunas mentioned. “That’s anything. Early on in the combat, I was undertaking wonderful. Then I consider she strike the desperation button and started off really unloading. She caught me a few of situations, but I just stayed potent.”
If her nose heals up promptly, Namajunas could get the subsequent title shot at Zhang Weili, who took the belt from Andrade late final 12 months.
Brazilian flyweight Amanda Ribas kicked off the fork out-per-watch card with a first-spherical armbar submission victory more than Paige VanZant. Ribas (10-1) enhanced to 4- in the UFC with a swift dismantling of the popular VanZant (8-5), whose UFC deal is up soon after 4 losses in her previous six bouts.
Jiri Procházka wrapped up the non-PPV undercard with a breathtaking knockout of previous mild heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir in the opening minute of the next round.
Procházka (27-3-1) is a Czech veteran who has fought mainly in Japan for the previous five years, and he was extraordinary in his hyped UFC debut. Procházka decreased his palms, caught out his chin and boldly dared Oezdemir to hit him in the first spherical, and he ended the battle with a head kick adopted by a punch that rendered his Swiss opponent unconscious.