UFC arrived at “Struggle Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates final evening (July 11, 2020) for UFC 251. In what’s going to absolutely go down as one of many strongest playing cards of the 12 months, UFC 251 featured three separate title fights, together with the intriguing headliner of Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal. It additionally represented the primary time fighters situated outdoors of the US would in a position to compete contained in the Octagon because the begin of the COVID-19 shutdowns, so there was loads of worldwide expertise on show.

Let’s take a better have a look at the slickest strategies and finest performances of the evening:

To The Shock Of No One …

Kamaru Usman acquired the job completed final evening, just like how he has on most each different evening of his UFC profession.

The primary spherical was cool! It confirmed why Jorge Masvidal had an opportunity on this match up. He showcased nice takedown protection, offensive clinch work, and exploded into strikes aimed on the legs, physique, and head when in a position to achieve distance. “Gamebred” regarded harmful, arguably even ready for the problem forward!

Usman introduced the world (and particularly, Masvidal) again to actuality within the second. He didn’t even land full takedowns. He simply stored urgent Masvidal into the fence, punching his mid-section and stomping his foot. Masvidal tried to chill out and preserve vitality, however even whereas consciously doing nothing, it’s laborious to play that clinch sport with out tiring.

On six day’s discover, Masvidal had no hope of maintaining with Usman.

Finally, Usman simply pulled the struggle additional and additional into his management. It wasn’t enjoyable, however Usman doesn’t need to entertain to be among the best fighters alive.

Technician’s Struggle

Max Holloway most likely deserved to win his belt again final evening (watch highlights).

The bout wherein he misplaced his title was a irritating one. Alexander Volkanovski got here in with a greater gameplan, executed nicely, and out-pointed Holloway over 5 rounds (see official scorecard). One way or the other, with out actual entry to his coaches or coaching companions, the Hawaiian correctly adjusted for this prompt rematch, which is troublesome below any circumstances.

At the beginning, Holloway kicked with Volkanovski. He did now enable the Aussie to dominate the low kicking sport. He kicked proper again on the thigh, and close to the top of the primary, shocked him with a excessive kick. His uppercut proved one other pivotal software, because it landed usually and dropped Volkanovski a second time.

Holloway took the primary two rounds clearly. Volkanovski was in a position to battle again within the subsequent three rounds, by way of a mixture of a extra dedicated jab and sheer power of will. Nonetheless, he by no means managed to take any of these three rounds like Holloway snagged the opening two, so it appeared seemingly that Holloway would stroll with the belt as soon as once more.

It didn’t occur. Volkanovski gained. I can’t think about Holloway’s frustration.

Stone Chilly Killer

Petr Yan lived as much as the “No Mercy” moniker.

The primary 15 minutes had been glorious, a number of the highest stage kickboxing to ever grace the Octagon. ALDO THREW LEG KICKS AGAIN! Normally, Aldo was the sharper man within the first half of the struggle. The low kicks pressured Yan Southpaw, at which level Aldo attacked the liver at each alternative.

Nonetheless, Yan was touchdown too, and he absorbed some hellacious pictures from Aldo with out main issue. As well as, there was an odd second close to the top of the primary spherical the place Aldo shot for a takedown and might need damage himself within the course of? No matter that outlier, the general course of the struggle was clear: Aldo couldn’t sustain (watch highlights).

By the top of the third, Yan was starting to land the higher pictures. Within the fourth, he fully dominated. Then, as is unfortunately usually the case in UFC fights, Aldo was merely brutalized within the closing spherical. Yan dropped him virtually instantly, and the referee allowed Aldo to put coated up on the canvas, absorbing brutal pictures for a lot too lengthy.

We count on Yan to assault ceaselessly — it’s his literal nickname! Is it an excessive amount of to ask for a touch of empathy from the referee or Aldo’s nook?

Thug Rose Endures

Rose Namajunas has probably the most aesthetically-pleasing putting model in girls’s MMA.

She strikes so nicely. In her rematch with harmful puncher Jessica Andrade, Namajunas pivoted, rolled and side-stepped so a lot of her opponent’s strikes. Between evasive actions, Namajunas snapped her foe’s head again with stiff jabs, touched with the best hand, and practically ended the bout with knees.

As with the primary struggle, Andrade was combating a battle of attrition. It didn’t take full impact till the third spherical, at which level Namajunas was all of a sudden rather more hittable. Namajunas ate extra punches than she would have preferred — and her face bore the injury — however she by no means fell or allowed Andrade to essentially run away with it.

In consequence, Namajunas’ success within the first two spherical noticed her earn the nod. Her victory proved a wonderful mixture of ability and toughness, fluidity and thuggery.

Mild Heavyweight’s New Contender

UFC didn’t throw Jiri Prochazka a softball for his UFC debut.

Volkan Oezdemir is a critical contender. He’s fought for the title! The Swedish kickboxer has an actual stable chin and thunderous energy in his punches. Currently, he’s actually calmed down, which has largely mounted the problems of his takedown protection and conditioning.

Prochazka didn’t care about any of that. He fought like a younger champion, throwing warning to the wind from the primary bell. Oezdemir’s punches had been of no concern, even once they landed and damage Czech athlete. He merely returned to his fast motion, assured that his personal offense would win out.

It did! Within the second spherical, Prochazka went Southpaw and kicked the leg. Half a second later, he threw up a excessive kick that landed clear and wobbled the knees. “Denisa” adopted up with a vicious proper hand, one which fully crumpled the veteran (watch highlights).

Prochazka is simply 27 years previous, and he’s seemingly going to be within the title combine for years to return.

Further Ideas

  • Amanda Ribas defeats Paige VanZant through first-round armbar (RECAP): Ribas made it look actually, very easy final evening. She backed VanZant into the fence rapidly, clinched up, and virtually instantly landed a giant head-and-arm throw. VanZant was caught within the scarf maintain place for a second, however when she did actually attempt to scramble, Ribas jumped on the overhooked arm and fell into the armbar place. Moments later, “PVZ” was tapping frantically. Ribas very a lot appears to be like the a part of a contender, prepared for high 10 competitors.
  • Makwan Amirkhani defeats Danny Henry through first-round anaconda choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Amirkhani’s technique is fairly straight ahead. He’s a robust clinch wrestler with an efficient blast double leg, and on the mat, that man is completely nasty together with his entrance chokes. He stored it easy final evening, circling for a pair minutes earlier than exploding right into a clinch takedown and instantly wrapping up the neck for a fast stoppage win.
  • Davey Grant defeats Martin Day through third-round KNOCKOUT (HIGHLIGHTS): In a number of years, this can be checked out as a kind of oft-forgotten about wars, one overshadowed by the remainder of the occasion. Make no mistake, nonetheless, this was a wonderful struggle. Grant threw zero strikes with out energy, totally committing to his combos of hooks to the physique and head. Day fired proper again, scoring the primary knockdown of the struggle. With 5 minutes remaining, the bout was nonetheless up within the air, however Day was pressuring ahead and seemingly edging his foe out. Then, a large hook from a lunging Grant linked completely, and Day hit the canvas with a thump.

For full UFC 251 outcomes and play-by-play, click on HERE. To take a look at the newest and biggest “Usman vs Masvidal” information and notes remember to hit up our complete occasion archive proper right here.