Fight Island’s long wait is now officially over after a plethora of incredible fights and some truly tantalizing MMA action from some of the top competitors in the sport. Kamaru Usman beat Jorge Masvidal in a thrilling UFC welterweight title fight on Fight Island last weekend to cement his welterweight supremacy in the division.

Masvidal and Usman shared their hatred for one another heading into the UFC 251 clash at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, but Usman walked out the eight walls of death as the champion. Let’s take a look at five of Usman’s best fights and how the Nigerian born brawler has exercised his dominance over the welterweight division.

Sergio Moraes

The rising Nigerian welterweight star had left a trail of victims in his rear-view path and Sergio Moraes was added to the pile after an impressive TKO victory in 2017. Usman was determined to prove his critics wrong after being labeled a one-dimensional and boring fighter, opting to finish a fight on the canvas, wrestling, over any striking or floor ascendancy.

Usman did not only prove his detractors wrong but he demonstrated a mouth-watering first-round TKO punch leaving Moraes immobilized on the floor. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’s’ devastating punch caught the Brazilian brawler off guard finishing the fight in a matter of seconds.

Usman showed his determination and made a statement against the Brazilian by pouring on the pressure from the second the fight started. The Nigerian native refused to look for one of his trademark takedowns and in the first minute fired a hard leg kick coupled with a titanic right hand that dropped Moraes. This leg-hand combination was the beginning of the end for “The Panther” who rose to his feet, only to be finished with another catastrophic right hand which planted his face firmly on the floor of the canvas at 2:48 in the opening frame.

Rafael Dos Anjos

Usman was to build to his already impressive UFC dynasty with a colossal five-round unanimous decision victory over former world champion Rafael Dos Anjos in November 2018. Rafael Dos Anjos was the clear favorite in the MMA betting, but Usman had other ideas for the Brazilian native.

Usman got his first takedown in the second minute of the fight but Dos Anjos displayed resilience and rose quickly. Usman pinned the Brazilian to the fence for some time, opting to gas him out rather than wrestle on the floor, but Dos Anjos stayed strong and broke free from Usman’s pressure. Usman kept his foe on the mat for much of round two, but the Brazilian let Usman know he was nowhere near done attempting an arm lock forcing the Nigerian to scramble to safety. As the round was coming to an end, Dos Anjos put Usman on the defensive with some hard strikes.

Usman exercised some versatility by mixing up his striking and grappling nicely and controlled the third round. The bloodied Dos Anjos’ danger remained, throwing strikes and submission attempts desperately trying to turn the fight around. The fourth round Usman remained in the driving seat, stepping on the gas, adding to his lead with a magnitude of dangerous strikes and takedowns.

The fifth round arrived and Usman displayed a variance of striking in a wild attempt to finish the Brazilian. Dos Anjos did look for a guillotine choke briefly but wasn’t able to execute it. Although Usman was denied the finish, the impressive win caught the attention of UFC President Dana White and Usman was handed a title shot over rival Colby Covington.

Colby Covington

Kamaru Usman silenced long-term rival Colby Covington in one of the most anticipated fights of 2019. UFC 245 was a war of words pre-match, with both camps firing their mouths off with some vicious talk but Usman got the victory where it counted the most. Usman dispatched the trash-talking Covington via TKO in the fifth round in the 245’s main event and retained his welterweight crown.

Both fighters traded some huge blows in the first two rounds, eventually gaining the slugfest tag which the bout deserved. Covington was the more dominant fighter, peppering Usman with left hands out of the southpaw stance. In the second, Usman started to cash in some huge body punches which seemed to add up as the fight continued.

In the third round, the momentum started to shift into the champ’s favor. Usman started unleashing some huge body shots and big right hands to Covington’s face, which started to blow up like a tomato and leak blood. It was this round that “Chaos” informed his corner that he thought his jaw was broken, but later confirmed that it was a fracture. Covington continued to trade shots and fought in the pocket of Usman throughout, with very little regard to his hanging jaw.

Covington started well in the fifth but Usman quite clearly executed a stoppage plan by putting the challenger on the canvas twice before referee Goddard had enough and called the bout. With the win, Usman retained his welterweight crown and quieted Covington’s barbs.

Tyron Woodley

This was Usman’s white whale fight; the title shot the Nigerian born brawler deserved. Tyron Woodley was what was standing between Usman and welterweight glory and Usman, the challenger, was not letting anyone or anything stop him from donning the strap.

Woodley’s game plan and body language suggested early that the man had defeat in his eyes. His corner implored him to take the fight to Usman but Woodley’s age was as transparent as Usman’s will to win. Usman owned the fight from start to finish to become the first African-born champion in the UFC. Woodley offered virtually nothing offensively, and spent the majority of the fight against the fence or eating Usman’s strikes.

Usman claimed the UFC welterweight title in a dominant decision against Tyron Woodley, outscoring the three-time defending champion on judges’ scorecards 50-44, 50-44 and 50-45. Usman has claimed the illustrious welterweight champion strap and has since defended it to a dangerous Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 Fight Island.

 

 

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