Kamaru Usman didn’t win any new fans in Abu Dhabi. However, he did prove that it will be very difficult to take the UFC welterweight title away from him. The promotion’s first African-born champion is a phenomenal wrestler. Unfortunately for Jorge Masvidal this spelled disaster.
Masvidal won plaudits after agreeing to step in and replace Gilbert Burns on short notice. However, perhaps that wasn’t such a good idea because the champion soundly beat him. There were questions over his ability to stay off the fence and they were soundly answered. Usman dominated this one from the second round on.
‘Gamebred’ is still a cult hero and a fan-favorite but may never fight for a UFC title again after this one. But at the age of 36, he got his payday and that might be enough for the veteran. Check out the highlights – there were some – of this fight below. Who can beat Usman?
— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) July 12, 2020
Masvidal had a good first round but it was all downhill from there. He started fast as expected, with a ferocious and unsustainable pace. Usman was a little surprised and ‘Gamebred’ tagged him a few times. However, the champion caught a low kick and took him down. Masvidal was able to get back to his feet and stayed busy for the rest of the round. The first one was his.
Unfortunately, this was as good as it got for the first-ever BMF champion. Usman continuously wrestled him up against the fence, in a tenacious grinding style. He also continuously punched Masvidal’s body and stamped on his feet from this position. Although the challenger was good at defending the takedowns, several did come. This was the story of the full fight, which was very frustrating for Usman fans.
— UFC (@ufc) July 12, 2020
While it wasn’t an entertaining fight to watch, it did show that it will be tough to beat Usman. He is most likely to fight one of Gilbert Burns or Leon Edwards next. However, those two challengers may face each other in another title eliminator. Usman may choose to take some time off after a resounding victory over the much-hyped Masvidal.
As for Masvidal, a rematch with Nate Diaz could be on the cards. That would be a good way to get excitement behind him again. It is a blow to his hopes of ending his professional fighting career with the belt, but he wants money more than anything at this point. The veteran is still a cult hero.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 12, 2020
This was a big night of fights in Abu Dhabi. In the co-main event, there was controversy when the judges gave Alexander Volkanovski a split-decision victory over Max Holloway. This caused outrage on social media with many people scoring the fight in favor of former champion, “Blessed.” Instead, the Australian completes his first title defense.
Meanwhile, Petr Yan defeated Jose Aldo in brutal style with a fourth-round TKO. Both men had their moments but Yan’s pressure overwhelmed Aldo. However, there was also controversy because referee Leon Roberts allowed Aldo to take a lot of damage.
Finally, ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas avenged her defeat to Jessica Andrade. The first fight saw Namajunas dominate with slick striking and movement before the Brazilian dumped her on her head. This time she was able to do the same for two rounds. Andrade came back very strong in the third round and almost had a 10-8, but ‘Thug Rose’ did enough to win. She may now move forward to face strawweight champion, Weili Zhang.