Nigeria’s Usman beats America’s Masvidal to retain UFC welterweight title

Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman has defeated America’s Jorge Masvidal to retain his welterweight championship in a unanimous decision at UFC 251 in the Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Sunday morning.

The 35-year-old Masvidal, who stepped in at six days’ notice to challenge Usman after Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19, had called Usman “mentally weak” prior to the fight.

But Usman was unanimously adjudged the winner by 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 to retain his crown.

The 33-year-old Usman, who had the best win record in the UFC, has now gone 16 fights without a loss.

Before the UFC 251 bout, Kamaru said he would beat his opponent to submission by breaking his spirit and gaining a first-round knockout victory.

“If I knock him out in the first round, I’m going to take it and go home but I want to break him mentally, I want to break his spirit,” Usman said.

“There is something about a man when you break his spirit. When he talks about you, he knows that you’re better than him.

“I’d rather beat a guy with a wide margin that they never ever dream of competing with me again and that’s how I’m going to approach this fight.

“This is the fight people want and the fans are going to get it. The fans know if an opponent is a challenger or not. Jorge had such an amazing year in 2018 and 2019 and that puts him in that category. He is the next biggest challenge for me and I’m excited. I can’t wait.”

Usman, who has now tied George Pierre’s UFC welterweight record of 12 straight victories, is the Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner.

He is also number six in the UFC men’s pound-to-pound rankings.

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