ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Kamaru Usman retained his welterweight title with a smothering victory more than quick-observe challenger Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 on Sunday.
Alexander Volkanovski retained his featherweight title with a narrow break up final decision about 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 vacationer desired destination turned into a secure bubble by the UFC all through the coronavius pandemic.
Previous strawweight champion Rose Namajunas avenged her decline to Jéssica Andrade with a break up-decision earn in their rematch on the UFC’s so-named “Fight Island.” The mixed martial arts advertising will host four shows this thirty day period at the arena, with a lot more anticipated in the future months at its haven from the coronavirus.
Usman (17-1) gained his 16th straight MMA victory and defended his belt for the 2nd time with a cerebral, technical general performance versus the 35-calendar year-previous Masvidal (35-14), who gallantly acknowledged his very first UFC title shot on 6 days’ observe when Gilbert Burns examined beneficial for the coronavirus.
“[Masvidal] is the major, baddest dude out there ideal now,” Usman explained. “I experienced to switch gears and put together for him on 6 days’ recognize. I know a ton was designed of him having the fight on short observe, but all these men are preparing for 1 person, and that’s me at the top of the mountain. I had to make a mental change. I had a entirely diverse activity plan.”
Masvidal was eager for a knockout, and the former backyard brawler came out swinging in an fascinating first round. But while Masvidal’s wind pale, Usman coolly took demand with wrestling takedowns, foot stomps and judicious strikes mixed with top-quality conditioning.
Two judges scored it 50-45 for Usman, and a third had it 49-46.
Some fans may well have booed Usman’s technique, but there have been no fans inside the momentary arena. UFC 251 began well just before dawn Sunday early morning in Abu Dhabi to meet up with the time calls for of the worthwhile North American fork out-per-perspective viewers, 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-slim margin, winning 48-47 on two of the 3 playing cards when his leg kicks and takedowns attained the final decision above Holloway’s all round placing game.
“It was a challenging combat,” Volkanovski mentioned. “He stood there and did not definitely take a backward phase. I could not use the kicks as a lot as I liked. I understood I experienced to earn that past spherical. It’s difficult. He’s a gamer. We’re both of those difficult workers, but I bought the position accomplished.”
The Australian winner won his belt final December with a virtuoso complex performance towards Holloway (21-6), who experienced reigned atop the division for the former three decades.
In the rematch, Holloway showed off an additional amount of his superb placing techniques whilst weathering dozens much more leg kicks from Volkanovski, who relied mainly on that strike to win the initially bout. Holloway mostly managed the first two rounds, but Volkanovski greater his output starting off in the third round and included a couple of takedowns to bolster his situation with the judges.
A few title belts were being on the line on the exact same card for only the sixth time in UFC record, and Yan (15-1) claimed the 1st just one by persevering for a beating of Aldo (28-7), the former featherweight champion dethroned by Conor McGregor in 2015.
Yan weathered an encouraged start off by Aldo, and inevitably set up his dominance with outstanding striking. Just after Yan battered a bloody Aldo into a turtled situation on the canvas in the fifth round, referee Leon Roberts permitted the fight to carry on for an alarming total of time before halting it with 1:36 still left.
“I expected it to be a tough battle,” Yan said by means of an interpreter. “That was our program, to get him worn out early on, and then in the third round, start out attacking.”
Aldo has misplaced 3 straight fights and six of his previous 9, but he brought about issues for Yan early on right until the more youthful Russian took in excess of.
Namajunas (9-4) returned from a 14-month break considering the fact that Andrade (20-8) claimed her title with an upset victory, stunning the champ with a entire body slam following Namajunas dominated the early combat.
Namajunas by no means authorized an option for Andrade to end her in the rematch, dominating the initially two rounds with her slick placing and fluid movement. Andrade rallied in the third and terribly harmed Namajunas’ nose and left eye, but Namajunas gained 29-28 on two judges’ scorecards.
“I was just in the right state of intellect,” Namajunas mentioned. “That’s almost everything. Early on in the combat, I was undertaking good. Then I consider she hit the desperation button and began definitely unloading. She caught me a couple of moments, but I just stayed powerful.”
If her nose heals up rapidly, Namajunas could get the next title shot at Zhang Weili, who took the belt from Andrade late last 12 months.
Brazilian flyweight Amanda Ribas kicked off the fork out-per-check out card with a initially-spherical armbar submission victory above Paige VanZant. Ribas (10-1) enhanced to 4- in the UFC with a swift dismantling of the well known VanZant (8-5), whose UFC deal is up immediately after four losses in her final 6 bouts.
Jiri Procházka wrapped up the non-PPV undercard with a stunning knockout of former 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 earlier 5 several years, and he was spectacular in his hyped UFC debut. Procházka reduced his fingers, stuck out his chin and boldly dared Oezdemir to strike him in the initial spherical, and he finished the battle with a head kick followed by a punch that rendered his Swiss opponent unconscious.