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UFC 251: Champ Usman defends title in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island

Ashwani Kumar
Filed on July 12, 2020 | Last updated on July 12, 2020 at 10.24 am
UFC, Abu Dhabi, UFC 251,  Yas Island
Kamaru Usman gets the better of Jorge Masvidal.

(Image: Twitter)

The closed-door event at Flash Forum without any fans' cheers and jeers started by 2am.

Kamaru Usman retained the welterweight title by scoring a split-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in the UFC 251 of the first-ever Fight Island mixed martial arts event held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The closed-door event at Flash Forum without any fans' cheers and jeers started by 2am of explosive early preliminary and preliminary cards. Since no spectators were allowed, the 13 fights followed prime time for the US audience and hence the early morning starts on Yas Island.

After eight undercard fights, the first fight of pay per view main card action pitted Amanda Ribas from Brazil against the US' Paige VanZant in women's flyweight division. Just a minute into the bout and blood was on the floor.

Ribas employed a beautiful belly down arm bar technique to win by submission. The Brazilian is now on a five-fight winning streak and 10-1 win-loss overall.

"I put all my energy. I was told how I can fight against someone who is training at big gyms. But I have a big heart. Now I wish to move to the strawweight division.

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Champ Usman defends title in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island


Kamaru Usman retained the welterweight title by scoring a split-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in the UFC 251 of the first-ever Fight Island mixed martial arts event held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
In the pay per view main card, Usman was aggressive from the start and tied up Masvidal to the fence.

The ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ set the pace of the encounter until Masvidal exploded in short bursts.
Usman was able to takedown Masvidal on five occasions but the American did well to wriggle out of each. There was a late rally by ‘Gamebred’ but not enough to impress the judges, who ruled 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 in favour of Usman taking the winning streak in the UFC to 12-0 and a 17-1 MMA record.

“He is the biggest, baddest dude out there. He, just like everyone, is prepared for me. He kept fighting and getting up. He was tough but I have more tools in my box,” Usman said after the win and added he is ready for more contenders. “I am at the top of the mountain and everyone is looking at me.”


Volkanovski retains featherweight title


Featherweight champion Alexander 'The Great' Volkanovski successfully defended his title against challenger 'Blessed' Max Holloway with a split-point decision. It was in December last year that

Volkanovski clinched the title from Holloway, who blamed judges for the loss. Critics also contended that Holloway was unlucky. However, today Volkanovski has silenced all his detractors despite a valiant display from Holloway.

 UFC 251: Champ Usman defends title in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island (KT24706712.PNG)

After initial rounds dominated by Holloway, Volkanovski came good in the final rounds.
"It was a tough one. We both went for the finish. But I got the job done. I am a warrior. We both worked hard. I have nothing but respect for Max," Volkanovski said.

The Australian isn't done yet and looking forward to another fight later this year.

"I have now dominated him (Holloway) over 10 rounds. Now, I want to get another one in. I am a champion chasing contenders," the champion added.


Pter Yan is new bantamweight champion


Russian fighter Pter Yan clinched the bantamweight title with a ruthless performance against Brazilian Jose Aldo.

After the first 10 minutes of careful assessments, exchanges of punches flowed. Both had openings in the third round but couldn't capitalise. In the next one, Aldo showed signs of tiredness.

UFC 251: Champ Usman defends title in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island (KT24707712.PNG)

And in the deciding fifth round, Yan 'No Mercy' unleashed a flurry of punches on an exhausted Aldo - a veteran across three divisions. As Aldo failed to respond or defend, the referee called the match in favour of Yan - a technical knockout.

"I expected it to be a hard fight. He hit my leg and then I had to change my style. Our plan was to put pressure on him, make him tired and then attack, which is exactly what happened," the 27-year-old, now also extends his winning streak to seven fights.


Namajunas exacts sweet revenge


American Rose Namajunas got her sweet revenge for last year's strawweight championship fight loss to Brazilian Jessica Andrade with a split decision (29-28, 28-29 and 29-28) victory today.

UFC 251: Champ Usman defends title in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island (KT24705712.PNG)

After a competitive first round, it turned into a slugfest in the next one between both the former champions. It was an incredible display by both the women fighters who went the distance.

Namajunas ended up with a swollen eye but now moves closer to a title shot against current champion Zhang Weili.

"It was fun. She was desperate and caught me a couple of times but I stayed strong."

And now, Namajunas has eyes on Weili's championship belt.

"I was hoping to get it pretty soon before the end of the year."


UFC PRELIMINARY CARD (4am start)


Lightweight: Leonardo Santos defeats Roman Bogatov

In an erratic encounter, Santos landed a flurry of punches on Bogatov to take the bout on a 29-26 unanimous call from judges. The Brazilian remains undefeated.
 

Featherweight: Makwan Amirkhani floors Danny Henry

Scottish fighter Henry couldn't find a way out of an anaconda choke deployed by 'Mr. Finland' Amirkhani. It was a first-round technical submission in 3 minutes, 15 seconds as Amirkhani became only the third UFC fighter to win by Anaconda choke.

Welterweight: Muslim Salikhov thumps Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos

In a close contest, Muslim Salikhov from Dagestan, the 'King of Kung Fu', and Brazilian star dos Santos traded head and body strikes and leg kicks but the former took a split decision victory (30-27, 28-29 and 29-28).

Light Heavyweight: Jiri Prochazka knocks out Volkan Oezdemir

Czech Republic's Prochazka made a top-notch debut with a powerful hook to knockout Oezdemir from Switzerland in the second round.


UFC EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD (2am start)


Bantamweight: Davey Grant knocks out Martin Day

It was a stand and deliver blow-for-blow clash until the 'Dangerous' Grant landed a jab, followed with a right and left hook for a third-round knockout.

Catchweight: Karol Rosa pins Vanessa Melo

The first women's fight of the night - all Brazilian clash - went the distance. Rosa dominated all the three rounds to take the win via a unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26 and 30-27). Rosa is still undefeated in the cage.

Catchweight: Raulian Paiva beats Zhalgas Zhumagulov

Zhumagulov from Kazakhstan endured the painful blows but fell to Brazilian opponent Paiva, who won on 29-28 unanimous verdict.

Heavyweight: Marcin Tybura prevails over Maxim Grishin

Polish veteran Tybura and debutant Grishin from Russia had a clean fight over three rounds. At the end, Tybura bagged unanimous points (30-27, 30-27 and 30-26).


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