Not only are both the main and co-main events rematches for the women’s strawweight and men’s welterweight championships, but each champion is facing the No. 1 contender of their divisions as well.
Those bouts come between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who faces former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington in the main event, just after UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas looks to defend her title against former strawweight champion Weili Zhang, the woman she just took the belt from.
Another note, both of these first fights ended via knockout.
The first time these two fought, back in December of 2019 at UFC 245, both men came into the fight with a record of 15-1, and Usman was making the first defense of his newly claimed championship.
After a back-and-forth war for four rounds, one judge scoring it 3-1 Covington, one 3-1 Usman, and one 2-2 going into round five, Covington’s jaw couldn’t take the abuse anymore, and the fight was stopped at 4:10 of round five.
An interesting fact, this knockout started a trend.
Since winning his UFC debut, claiming The Ultimate Fighter 21 championship via submission (arm-triangle choke), eight of his next nine wins came via decision, including his title-winning effort against Tyron Woodley.
Something worth noting, not one of those opponents took one round from Usman, and there were a number of 10-8 rounds in there, a good number of them. Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington is the first man to take a round from him, and to this day the only man to take more than one round from him.
Since their first meeting, Usman has defended his belt three more times against Jorge Masvidal (UD), Gilbert Burns (TKO), and Jorge Masvidal (KO) again, improving his record to 19-1, while Covington has defeated former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in that time, improving his record to 16-2.
Both of these men are national champion wrestlers, Usman at the NCAA Division II level, and Covington at the NJCAA level, but we saw none of that in the first fight. Will we this time?
Continue reading to see how this epic main event went down:
Official Result: Kamaru Usman def. Colby Covington via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
The first round is a good feeling out process, as Usman controls the center of the octagon. Covington tries to get some calf kicks going, which is good to see, and he shoots his first takedown attempt about 90 seconds in, which is also good to see.
Usman stuffs it and the two are back to striking, before Covington runs right into a double leg. He’s right back to his feet however, and they’re throwing hands again, just like the first fight but more calculated.
Kamaru Usman is still looking great, using his array of strikes, while Covington seems relatively gunshy. He is throwing, but it’s not like the first fight, it’s like he’s anticipating a response from Usman, as Joe Rogan said.
Covington did manage to tie up with Usman a couple times, pressing him into the fence attempting takedowns, but he was unsuccessful in his attempts.
Usman then hurts Covington badly with a hard shot and drops him twice just before the end of the round.
Usman continues controlling the action, out-striking Covington and defending his takedowns.
Covington does however have a better round in the middle set here, as he gets more aggressive with his punches later on in the round and even ties up with Usman, securing a takedown at the very end of the round.
Covington had a great round four, stunning the champion a number of times throughout. He’s started throwing down, just like he did in the first fight, and he’s having a lot of success with it.
It took him a while to come alive, but after a close round three, round four went to the challenger. It’s either 3-1 Usman or 2-2 going into five.
Covington attempts another takedown, but is again denied, and he gets back to his boxing. His left cross can’t miss, and he’s also been throwing a nice uppercut tonight.
Usman presumably won round one, he won round two, round three was very close, round four went to Covington, and round five was also close, presumably going to Covington.
When it was all said and done, it started off a bit slower than their first, but picked up and it too became a classic.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.