The stock of Nigerians in the UFC rose again early on Sunday morning as Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal to retain his crown as the undisputed welterweight champion at UFC 251.The three judges for the night unanimously found Usman better than his opponent and scored him 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46.
Usman has now tied Georges St-Pierre’s record for the longest welterweight win streak.
He had the third-best starts to UFC history before going into the fight on Sunday morning.
“I trained for Gilbert, I had a completely different game plan and I had to make a mental shift,” Usman said of the change in opponent which came six days before the fight.
“Jorge is a tough guy and I give him credit for that. For a reason, he always games the fight.
“I’m just a level better. I have more tools in the toolbox. And when I need to pull them out, I can pull them out and use them.”
The fight held in Abudhabi, the United Arab Emirates was almost ruined as Usman’s initial opponent Gilbert Burns pulled out of the bout at the last minute after testing positive for coronavirus.
Burns and Usman are teammates and have been training together since 2012.
Masvidal was drafted in to replace him close to the day of the fight by Dana White.
The stage was set for something spectacular to happen in the storied career of Jorge Masvidal. Fresh from his breakout year in 2019, “Gamebred” took his first UFC title fight on six days’ notice, replacing Gilbert Burns.
But in the main event of UFC 251 on Fight Island, it was all Kamaru Usman, who extended his current winning streak to 16 while successfully defending his welterweight title via unanimous decision.
With the victory, Kamaru Usman now has 17 wins and just one loss while Masvidal’s defeats rose to 14 with 35 wins.