ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Kamaru Usman retained his welterweight title with a smothering victory more than limited-recognize challenger Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 on Sunday.
Alexander Volkanovski retained his featherweight title with a slim split determination above Max Holloway, and Petr Yan received the vacant UFC bantamweight championship with a fifth-spherical stoppage victory more than José Aldo on Yas Island, the UAE tourist destination turned into a protected bubble by the UFC for the duration of the coronavius pandemic.
Previous strawweight champion Rose Namajunas avenged her decline to Jéssica Andrade with a split-conclusion get in their rematch on the UFC’s so-referred to as “Fight Island.” The mixed martial arts advertising will host four displays this thirty day period at the arena, with a lot 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MMA victory and defended his belt for the second time with a cerebral, technological functionality versus the 35-yr-outdated Masvidal (35-14), who gallantly acknowledged his 1st UFC title shot on 6 days’ observe when Gilbert Burns analyzed good for the coronavirus.
“[Masvidal] is the greatest, baddest dude out there correct now,” Usman mentioned. “I experienced to switch gears and get ready for him on 6 days’ observe. I know a good deal was built of him getting the fight on short notice, but all these men are getting ready for just one person, and that’s me at the best of the mountain. I had to make a psychological shift. I experienced a fully various sport approach.”
Masvidal was keen for a knockout, and the previous yard brawler arrived out swinging in an remarkable initial round. But although Masvidal’s wind faded, Usman coolly took demand with wrestling takedowns, foot stomps and judicious strikes blended with excellent conditioning.
Two judges scored it 50-45 for Usman, and a third experienced it 49-46.
Some supporters may well have booed Usman’s system, but there have been no followers inside the short-term arena. UFC 251 began effectively prior to dawn Sunday early morning in Abu Dhabi to satisfy the time demands of the beneficial North American shell out-per-see audience, and the sun rose as the card progressed.
Volkanovski (22-1) earned his 19th consecutive MMA victory considering the fact that 2013 by a razor-thin margin, winning 48-47 on two of the a few playing cards when his leg kicks and takedowns gained the final decision around Holloway’s in general putting recreation.
“It was a hard combat,” Volkanovski explained. “He stood there and did not actually just take a backward step. I couldn’t use the kicks as significantly as I appreciated. I knew I had to gain that final round. It’s tough. He’s a gamer. We’re both equally difficult personnel, but I bought the occupation done.”
The Australian winner received his belt last December with a virtuoso complex efficiency against Holloway (21-6), who had reigned atop the division for the past a few yrs.
In the rematch, Holloway showed off a different level of his fantastic striking capabilities when weathering dozens far more leg kicks from Volkanovski, who relied mostly on that strike to gain the to start with bout. Holloway mostly controlled the first two rounds, but Volkanovski improved his output setting up in the 3rd round and included a number of takedowns to bolster his case with the judges.
3 title belts had been on the line on the similar card for only the sixth time in UFC background, and Yan (15-1) claimed the very first a single by persevering for a beating of Aldo (28-7), the former featherweight champion dethroned by Conor McGregor in 2015.
Yan weathered an motivated commence by Aldo, and ultimately set up his dominance with outstanding striking. Immediately after Yan battered a bloody Aldo into a turtled position on the canvas in the fifth spherical, referee Leon Roberts authorized the combat to proceed for an alarming total of time ahead of stopping it with 1:36 remaining.
“I envisioned it to be a really hard struggle,” Yan reported via an interpreter. “That was our program, to get him drained early on, and then in the third spherical, get started attacking.”
Aldo has dropped 3 straight fights and 6 of his last 9, but he induced problems for Yan early on till the younger Russian took about.
Namajunas (9-4) returned from a 14-thirty day period crack considering the fact that Andrade (20-8) claimed her title with an upset victory, surprising the champ with a overall body slam soon after Namajunas dominated the early fight.
Namajunas never ever authorized an prospect for Andrade to finish her in the rematch, dominating the initial two rounds with her slick placing and fluid movement. Andrade rallied in the third and terribly weakened Namajunas’ nose and still left eye, but Namajunas gained 29-28 on two judges’ scorecards.
“I was just in the correct point out of brain,” Namajunas reported. “That’s all the things. Early on in the fight, I was doing wonderful. Then I believe she strike the desperation button and started truly unloading. She caught me a couple of situations, but I just stayed strong.”
If her nose heals up swiftly, Namajunas could get the upcoming title shot at Zhang Weili, who took the belt from Andrade late final calendar year.
Brazilian flyweight Amanda Ribas kicked off the fork out-per-see card with a very first-round armbar submission victory more than Paige VanZant. Ribas (10-1) enhanced to 4- in the UFC with a swift dismantling of the well-known VanZant (8-5), whose UFC contract is up immediately after four losses in her very last six bouts.
Jiri Procházka wrapped up the non-PPV undercard with a impressive knockout of previous light heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir in the opening moment of the 2nd spherical.
Procházka (27-3-1) is a Czech veteran who has fought generally in Japan for the previous five a long time, and he was extraordinary in his hyped UFC debut. Procházka decreased his palms, caught out his chin and boldly dared Oezdemir to strike him in the initial round, and he ended the combat with a head kick followed by a punch that rendered his Swiss opponent unconscious.