Gilbert Burns set the tone within the opening seconds of the most important combat of his profession, then seldom let up the following 25 minutes.

Burns (19-Three MMA, 12-Three UFC) dominated former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (19-5-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) from the beginning. He reduce him open early and gained the combat each on the ft and on the canvas for a unanimous choice sweep of the judges’ scorecards. Burns gained with a pair of 50-44 scores and a 50-45.

After taking out a former champ in Woodley’s return 15 months after shedding the 170-pound belt, Burns known as for a title shot.

“I’m very glad. I educated so arduous for this combat. I knew I may do it. I used to be calling this man out for a purpose,” Burns instructed Daniel Cormier in his post-fight interview. “My title now has obtained to be the No. 1 contender. I really like the champ, my coaching associate Kamaru Usman, however c’mon – give me the shot. I’ve obtained loads of love for you, however I’m subsequent. I need to combat for the title. In the event that they need to make the combat in July, I’m harm free. I need to combat for the title.”

The welterweight bout was the UFC on ESPN 9 essential occasion on the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+.

Burns damage Woodley rapidly into the primary spherical and pounded away in tight quarters. Woodley was wobbled and tumbled to the canvas with Burns following with hammerfists. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout jumped to full mount and slowed the tempo to search for his finest opening. When Woodley obtained his head popped out, he confirmed an enormous reduce above his left eye from Gilbert’s fists.

Woodley did his finest to play protection along with his again on the canvas, and with two minutes left within the spherical, Woodley properly managed to scramble out and get again to his ft. Burns tried to work a pair of kicks up excessive, then went low. Woodley kicked excessive, too, however had it blocked and circled away looking for a brand new opening. With 20 seconds left, Burns drilled Woodley with a physique kick and adopted it with a left hook.

Woodley put collectively an enormous mixture early within the second, then landed a proper cross that put Burns off-balance. The tempo slowed, and each fighters often traded kicks and punches until halfway by way of, when Burns landed a takedown. He put Woodley’s again towards the canvas, then landed knees to the physique when Woodley tried to wall-walk his approach again to his ft. They stayed clinched the remainder of the round and traded place late, but it surely was one other spherical for the Brazilian.

The center body confirmed each fighters being a little bit extra cautious, but it surely was Burns pushing ahead with Woodley’s again to the fence. Burns landed a number of low leg kicks that appeared to make Woodley uncomfortable and he seldom had counters for them.

Within the fourth, Woodley threw an enormous proper hook and Burns ducked beneath completely. He tried to take Woodley to the canvas, however bumped into strong takedown protection they usually pushed their method to the fence within the clinch, the place they traded positions. With three minutes left, referee Herb Dean cut up them up after not seeing sufficient exercise. On the break, Burns landed a number of straight left jabs in a row, then drilled Woodley with a knee to the physique.

Not lengthy after, Burns exploded nearly out of nowhere with an enormous collection of on-the-money punches that almost took Woodley off his ft. After a quick clinch, Burns simply dragged Woodley to the canvas and with a minute left within the spherical, tried to take the previous champ’s again. Burns wrapped up a choke late within the body, however there wasn’t sufficient time to complete.

Burns didn’t let up within the fifth, even figuring out Woodley was going to wish to discover a method to end the combat to win. He moved in rapidly with kicks and pushed Woodley to the fence once more. Halfway by way of the spherical, Dean separated the 2 – and once more Burns obtained proper in Woodley’s face. Woodley landed a proper that was partially blocked, however nonetheless needed to deal with Burns pressuring him the remainder of the way in which.

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