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

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

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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.

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.”

© Khaleej Times | Ashwani Kumar