UFC 251: Usman, Volkanovski, Yan leave Fight Island with belts

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP)– Kamaru Usman kept his welterweight title with a surrounding triumph over short-notice opposition Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 on Sunday.

Alexander Volkanovski kept his lightweight title with a narrow split decision over Max Holloway, and also Petr Yan won the uninhabited UFC bantamweight champion with a fifth-round blockage triumph over José Aldo on Yas Island, the UAE vacationer destination turned into a safe and secure bubble by the UFC during the coronavius pandemic.

Previous strawweight champ Rose Namajunas retaliated her loss to Jéssica Andrade with a split-decision win in their rematch on the UFC’s supposed “Fight Island.” The mixed martial arts promotion will host four shows this month at the field, with even more anticipated in the future months at its place from the coronavirus.

Usman (17-1) gained his 16th straight Mixed Martial Arts success and defended his belt for the 2nd time with a cerebral, technical performance versus the 35-year-old Masvidal (35-14), that gallantly accepted his very first UFC title shot on six days’ notice when Gilbert Burns examined favorable for the coronavirus.

“(Masvidal) is the greatest, baddest guy available right now,” Usman claimed. “I had to switch gears as well as plan for him on six days’ notification. I recognize a lot was made from him taking the battle on brief notice, however all these individuals are preparing for one person, as well as that’s me at the top of the hill. I needed to make a mental change. I had a totally various game plan.”

Masvidal was excited for a knockout, as well as the previous backyard fighter appeared turning in an amazing preliminary. However while Masvidal’s wind faded, Usman coolly took charge with battling takedowns, foot stamps as well as sensible strikes combined with superior conditioning.

2 judges scored it 50-45 for Usman, and a third had it 49-46.

Some followers may have booed Usman’s technique, but there were no followers inside the short-term sector. UFC 251 started well prior to dawn Sunday morning in Abu Dhabi to meet the moment demands of the rewarding North American pay-per-view target market, and the sunlight increased as the card proceeded.

Volkanovski (22-1) made his 19th consecutive Mixed Martial Arts success because 2013 by a razor-thin margin, winning 48-47 on 2 of the 3 cards when his leg kicks as well as takedowns gained the choice over Holloway’s general striking game.

“It was a difficult battle,” Volkanovski said. “He stood there and also really did not truly take a backward action. I couldn’t utilize the kicks as long as I suched as. I knew I needed to win that last round. It is difficult. He’s a gamer. We’re both hard workers, but I did the job.”

The Australian champion won his belt last December with a virtuoso technological efficiency versus Holloway (21-6), who had actually ruled atop the division for the previous 3 years.

In the rematch, Holloway flaunted another degree of his superb striking skills while weathering lots more leg kicks from Volkanovski, that counted mostly on that strike to win the very first bout. Holloway mainly controlled the very first 2 rounds, but Volkanovski raised his result starting in the 3rd round and added a few takedowns to bolster his instance with the courts.

3 title belts got on the line on the very same card for just the 6th time in UFC background, and also Yan (15-1) declared the very first one by persevering for a whipping of Aldo (28-7), the former lightweight champ dismissed by Conor McGregor in 2015.

Yan weathered an inspired start by Aldo, and also eventually established his dominance with superior striking. After Yan damaged a bloody Aldo right into a turtled setting on the canvas in the fifth round, umpire Leon Roberts enabled the battle to proceed for a worrying quantity of time prior to stopping it with 1:36 left.

“I expected it to be a hard fight,” Yan stated with an interpreter. “That was our strategy, to get him tired early, as well as then in the third round, begin striking.”

Aldo has actually lost 3 straight battles and 6 of his last nine, but he caused issues for Yan early on till the more youthful Russian took control of.

Namajunas (9-4) returned from a 14-month break given that Andrade (20-8) declared her title with a dismayed success, unusual the champ with a body bang after Namajunas dominated the very early battle.

Namajunas never ever permitted a chance for Andrade to finish her in the rematch, controling the first 2 rounds with her glossy striking and fluid activity. Andrade rallied in the 3rd and severely damaged Namajunas’ nose and also left eye, however Namajunas won 29-28 on two judges’ scorecards.

“I was just in the appropriate frame of mind,” Namajunas said. “That’s whatever. Beforehand in the battle, I was doing terrific. Then I think she hit the desperation switch as well as began really unloading. She captured me a pair of times, yet I just remained strong.”

If her nose heals up swiftly, Namajunas can obtain the following title chance at Zhang Weili, who took the belt from Andrade late in 2014.

Brazilian flyweight Amanda Ribas started the pay-per-view card with a first-round armbar submission success over Paige VanZant. Ribas (10-1) improved to 4-0 in the UFC with a swift dismantling of the preferred VanZant (8-5), whose UFC contract is up after 4 losses in her last 6 spells.

Jiri Procházka concluded the non-PPV undercard with a spectacular knockout of previous light heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir in the opening minute of the 2nd round.

Procházka (27-3-1) is a Czech professional that has actually combated primarily in Japan for the past five years, and also he went over in his hyped UFC debut. Procházka decreased his hands, stuck out his chin and frankly dared Oezdemir to hit him in the preliminary, and also he ended the fight with a head kick followed by a strike that made his Swiss challenger unconscious.

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