UFC 251: Kamaru Usman remains champion by defeating short-notice replacement Jorge Masvidal in five-round wrestling clinic

Kamaru Usman (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Kamaru Usman (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) /

Kamaru Usman remains champion by defeating short-notice replacement Jorge Masvidal in five-round wrestling clinic.

Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) at UFC 251 live from the UFC’s Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, July 11, 2020.

Usman remains the welterweight champion.

All these guys are preparing for one guy… and that’s me, at the top of the mountain”, Usman said during his post-fight interview. “Masvidal is tough.”

“I’ll get a few more wins and we’ll run it back,” said Masvidal to Usman when the fight was over.

Here’s how the whole fight played out.

Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal round 1

They didn’t touch gloves to start the fight, no shock there. Masvidal came out of his corner casually and went for a leg kick and was immediately taken to the canvas just 15 seconds into the fight. This is where Usman wants to be, yet Masvidal is smiling and seems comfortable on his back. Usman postures up and eats a leg kick and a few shots to the head then Masvidal finds his way back up to his feet and escapes. They trade in the center of the Octagon. They clinch and Masvidal lands to the body of Usman. In response, Usman stuffs Masvidal against the cage. Usman elbows Masvidal and he ducks out of the clinch and back again to the middle of the cage. The exchange with less than 30 seconds remaining and end the round on their feet with Masvidal winning the better of the exchanges.

We give the round to Masvidal 

Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal round 2

The engage to start the round with Usman going quickly for a takedown. Masvidal was better prepared for the takedown and is able to escape. Usman struggled again to get him down but Masvidal remains on his feet in the clinch. They struggle in the clinch and Masvidal now has two cuts on his face, both from accidental headbutts according to the commentary team. Usman keeps Masvidal against the cage for most of the fight, unloading shoulder strikes and knees. He’s winning this round with good strategy and smart fighting. The end the round in the center of the Octagon with Masvidal landing huge head kicks and counters but probably not enough to steal the round from Usman.

They talk trash as they walk away from each other.

We give the round to Usman

Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal round 3

Masvidal opens round three with a big kick but it’s to be observed that Masvidal looks tired already. Usman comes forward and they clinch again. Usman stomps on the feet of Masvidal and the referee warns them to work. They separate and Usman goes for another takedown, Masvidal stuffs it again. So far, he’s only fallen to one takedown.

Usman lands a low blow and the referee tries to separate them but Usman stands there smiling at Masvidal. A brief recovery for Masvidal as he walks off the groin strike.

The go back into the fight with two minutes remaining and the action slows. Usman finally lands the takedown he was looking for and sits Masvidal on his butt. Masvidal gets back up and then tosses Masvidal to the canvas once again. Usman sits on Masvidal and rains down elbows to end the third round on top.

We give the round to Usman


Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal round 4

Right back into the clinch for the championship rounds. Masvidal lands some knees in the clinch and is warned of getting too close to the groin. More of the clinch work and a beautiful left hand from Usman. Masvidal flurries and strikes himself out of the clinch, taking control of the round with two minutes remaining. Masvidal puts his hands down and urges Usman to come forward, which he does and Masvidal eats two huge left hooks. They end the fight in the clinch.

We give the round to Usman

Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal round 5

In the final round, Masvidal has to get a finish to win, Usman’s gameplan is too good. He takes Masvidal to the canvas yet again. Masvidal is n a vulnerable spot, against the cage with Usman sitting on top of him. Usman, though the clear winner on the scorecards is still searching for a finish of a man who he seems to really dislike. Masvidal turns and Usmand now has side control. With a minute remaining it looks like Usman is looking for a submission but Masvidal finds his way back up to his feet. They break apart and Masvidal rallies for a knockout but Usman is smart and keeps his distance.

We give the fight to Usman. 

At the end of the bout the two exchange what looks like polite words and may have buried the beef. That’s nice to see.

Why did Jorge Masvidal step in on short notice?

This was the fight the fans wanted and frankly, both fighters wanted. It never got made because, according to Masvidal, the UFC wasn’t offering him a payday he felt he deserved. Instead, the UFC booked Usman’s former teammate, Gilbert Burns. The fight was good, and fans loved to see Burns get a title fight, but it just didn’t have the same drama that Masvidal would have.

Then, just days before flying to Fight Island it was revealed that Burns and his team had tested positive for COVID-19 and he was forced off the card. In stepped Masvidal like the BMF he is, and the fight was made with just six-days notice.

Next. UFC 251: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal full live results. dark

UFC 251 took place on Saturday, July 11, 2020, live from Fight Island on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.