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Kamaru Usman knocks out Jorge Masvidal to retain UFC title

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Kamaru Usman punches Jorge Masvidal in their welterweight bout during UFC 261 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by UFC

Jorge Mavidal will be having nightmares in the coming days after UFC welterweight champion Kamaru ‘the Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman put a seal of authority on his rivalry with the American with a crushing right hand and vicious ground attack for a knockout victory just over a minute into the second round in the main event of UFC 261 in the early hours of Sunday in Jacksonville, Florida.

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The bout took place at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, in front of a crowd of 15,269 and was the first UFC event with a capacity crowd since the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a rematch of their first fight in 2020 when Usman dominated Masvidal over five rounds.

With the victory, Usman defended his welterweight title, while it was the first time Masvidal had been finished by KO or TKO since 2008.

At UFC 251 last year, Usman (19-1) beat Masvidal via unanimous decision in fairly one-sided fashion. But Masvidal came into that fight on just six days’ notice after Usman’s initially scheduled opponent, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for coronavirus. Usman, 33, has now defended his title for a fourth straight time and has recorded his 14th straight UFC victory.

His 14 consecutive victories is the second-longest winning streak in UFC history. Only Anderson Silva has more consecutive wins in UFC history (16).

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“Jacksonville, Florida — y’all said you wanted violence?” Usman said in his post-fight interview. “You’re welcome.”

“You elevated me,” continued Usman, referring to Masvidal. “You made me get into the workshop. I told everybody I’m still getting better. The sky is the limit for me as long as I’m doing this.”

At the post-fight news conference, UFC president Dana White said Colby Covington is next for Usman in what would be a rematch of their December 2019 bout, which Usman won via fifth-round TKO at UFC 245.

Following his convincing victory over Masvidal, Usman is now undoubtedly one of the best in the world, and the questions will begin about where he stands on the all-time list.

“With my fundamentals, I am the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet right now,” Usman said.

UFC boss White went even further, saying that Usman is “one of the best ever and he’s on his way to probably being the greatest of all time.”

“When you go in and you beat the guys who are looked at as the best in the world at that time and you beat them twice and you beat them convincingly, it’s all part of cementing that legacy that this guy is going to have some day,” White said.

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