Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge Masvidal to retaine his welterweight title with a smothering victory at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday.
Usman (17-1) earned his 16th straight MMA victory and defended his belt for the second time with a cerebral, technical performance against the Masvidal (35-14).
Usman vs. Masvidal came together on a week’s notice after Gilbert, Burns, who was scheduled to fight Usman, tested positive for COVID-19.
Usman was victorious after two jugdes scored it 50-45 for him, and a third had it 49-46.
“[Masvidal] is the biggest, baddest dude out there right now,” Usman said after the fight.
“I had to switch gears and prepare for him on six days’ notice. I know a lot was made of him taking the fight on short notice, but all these guys are preparing for one guy, and that’s me at the top of the mountain. I had to make a mental shift. I had a completely different game plan.”
Usman’s strategy was clear: grind and wear Masvidal out. And it worked completely.
Masvidal and Usman had been feuding since a verbal altercation on Super Bowl radio row back in February.
Usman’s 12 straight wins ties lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov for the longest active winning streak in the UFC. That figure also ties Georges St-Pierre for the longest winning streak in UFC welterweight history.