Final Preventing Championship (UFC) staged the UFC 251 ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) occasion final night time (Sat., July 11, 2020) on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the primary of 4 occasions this month on “Combat Island.” The principle occasion noticed Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, defend his 170-pound strap in opposition to Jorge Masvidal, dominating him for 5 rounds to earn a clear-cut unanimous choice win (see it once more right here). The co-main occasion noticed Featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski, efficiently defend his title in opposition to former champion, Max Holloway, in what proved to be a highly-controversial choice (highlights). Petr Yan, in the meantime, stopped Jose Aldo within the fifth spherical to grow to be the brand new Bantamweight champion (video replay right here).
Largest Winner: Kamaru Usman
Usman simply retains on successful, incomes his sixteenth straight victory to stay undefeated contained in the Octagon (12-0) after dominating Masvidal from pillar to publish. Whereas I’m positive many will use Masvidal’s six-day discover as cause for his lack of output, that received’t discredit what “The Nigerian Nightmare” did. Coming into the bout, most already knew Usman’s greatest guess was to easily out-wrestle “Gamebred” and keep away from a placing warfare. And he did that to perfection, taking down the Miami legend at-will and controlling him on the mat all through most of their 25-minute contest. Whereas Masvidal did present flashes of fine takedown protection, “The Nigerian Nightmare’s” relentlessness finally proved superior. As soon as it was over, Usman appeared like he might go one other 5 rounds, as his gasoline tank proved to be one other huge weapon within the struggle. With two title defenses below his belt, Usman ought to begin getting the respect a real champion deserves, as his resume over his final 5 bouts is really spectacular, scoring wins over Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington and now Masvidal. With bragging rights over “Gamebred” in his again pocket, don’t be too shocked if Usman’s the following man to hit UFC up for a pay elevate.
Runner Up: Petr Yan
Yan as soon as claimed that UFC wasn’t thinking about having one other Russian champion on its roster alongside Khabib Nurmagomedov. Whereas I extremely doubt that’s the case, it doesn’t matter a lot now because the promotion has two tough-as-nails Russians holding titles after “No Mercy” knocked out Jose Aldo within the fifth and ultimate spherical to earn the vacant Bantamweight strap. It’s actually been a meteoric rise for Yan, who made his Octagon debut simply two brief years in the past, successful all seven of his fights with the promotion to convey his win steak to 10. And the scary half about it’s — not less than for all of the combatants competing at 135 kilos — Yan hasn’t actually appeared susceptible throughout his stint with the promotion. Positive, Aldo tagged him a couple of occasions with some good pictures and physique kicks, however Yan made the right changes to ultimately rating a late end over the MMA legend. However with the title round his waist now, Yan may have an enormous goal on his again, although I’m positive he welcomes the stress and the challenges that include being a UFC champ.
Honorable Point out: Jiri Prochazka
Upon first look, you wouldn’t have been in a position to inform that Prochazka was making his Octagon debut final night time, because the towering 27-year outdated appeared like a long-time Octagon veteran in opposition to Volkan Oezdemir. Certainly, Prochazka was calm, cool and picked up from the soar, tagging “No Time” at-will early on. And whereas he did present transient indicators of being a bit reckless, his placing energy proved to be on level, knocking out Oezdemir chilly with a stable proper hand, giving him his eleventh straight win. The efficiency additionally scored him a pleasant $50,000 post-fight bonus examine. Whereas it’s clearly too quickly to start out singing his praises on the best word, Prochazka confirmed that the hype is actual by taking out a former 205-pound title contender in spectacular trend in his first-ever UFC struggle.
Largest loser: Paige VanZant
VanZant determined to roll the cube and guess on herself, opting to not signal an extension with UFC going into her ultimate struggle in opposition to Amanda Ribas on “Combat Island” in hopes of securing the bag in free company. It was a transfer that finally didn’t work out for “12 Gauge,” as she was submitted by Ribas halfway by way of the primary spherical (recap), by no means actually getting the prospect to pop off any offense. It’s a tricky loss for the previous “Dancing With The Stars” competitor as a result of the defeat undoubtedly price her some leverage on the negotiating desk. However VanZant didn’t appear to sweat that previous to the struggle — she was assured that win lose or draw, her identify worth alone could be greater than sufficient to attain her a greater contract with UFC (or with one other promotion). It was an announcement that struck me as odd seeing as how she is simply 2-3 (now 2-4) within the final 5 years. And whereas the crossover enchantment has confirmed to be there, wins within the sport are what matter if you wish to rating larger and higher paydays. There may be completely nothing flawed with being assured in your self, however I hope the considered having sufficient identify worth to safe her future payday — whatever the end result of her ultimate struggle — didn’t considerably trigger her to miss Ribas … even the slightest. Regardless, her administration workforce will now need to work a bit tougher when it comes time to discussing a brand new take care of no matter promotion is providing one.
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