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Masvidal fails to break free from 'Nigerian Nightmare'

Ashwani Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on July 12, 2020
Kamaru Usman of Nigeria kicks Jorge Masvidal in their UFC welterweight championship fight. (Reuters)

Kamaru Usman wishes for a six-week time to prepare for a bigger onslaught whenever they meet next time

Kamaru Usman tamed Jorge Masvidal to retain his welterweight championship at UFC 251 -- part of the first-ever Fight Island four-event series -- in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Despite all the pre-fight hype and trash talk, it was a one-way traffic in Flash Forum octagon with Usman firmly in the driver's seat.

Masvidal was unable to break free from Usman's grasp as it was a complete dominance from start to finish. And he ended up with a unanimous verdict (50-45 50-45 and 49-46) in his favour.

But Usman, the 'Nigerian Nightmare', hasn't had enough. He wishes for a six-week time to prepare for a bigger onslaught whenever they meet next time.

"We both feel that we'll do it again. He is a crafty veteran. He got tricks that a lot of untrained eyes don't see. But I would love to do that fight again. I like to pick my spots. I have got involved so much but still got the tools," Usman said in a post-fight press conference.

"I need to showcase a lot more of what I have in the tool box. And I would love to do that with a lot more time. I would have liked to strategically prepare for a guy like him to really pick him apart better than I did.

"He is a tough guy but a little bit behind in just what it takes as far as me to be able to dominate a fight but he is very dangerous. His wrestling is good by mine is just a little bit better. I know just tactically how to put a whole fight together. I am a bit better than everybody in this division, that's why I am the champion."

Usman has now equalled Khabib Nurmagomedov's record of 12 consecutive UFC wins.
Usman could take on Gilbert Burns - a match that UFC president Dana White is keen on seeing.

"I think it is going to be a really good fight," White said.

Meanwhile, Masvidal is happy to have learnt life lessons, which will help to surpass Usman one day. A saving grace for him is the fact that he stepped in despite having no time to train for Usman.

"I hate coming up short. There were some areas where I didn't give him enough credit and there were some areas I felt with a better training camp I could definitely surpass him. I made a lot of mistakes. I tried to fight in spots since I didn't feel my gas tank was the greatest and he fought in better spots," Masvidal said.

"When I would get loose and start to open up, he was able to clinch me up and take it right back into his world. I will do whatever it takes to get back in front of that man and compete again and get my hand raised," he added.

The action continues on Fight Island with three more Fight Nights on July 16, 19 and 26.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com


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