Watch Usman win the welterweight title on UFC Fight Pass
It was a masterful effort by underdog challenger Kamaru Usman in his UFC 235 co-main event against Tyron Woodley, and after five rounds at T-Mobile Arena, the Nigeria native transitioned from challenger to champion as he scored a shutout unanimous decision to take the welterweight crown and become the first African-born fighter to wear UFC gold.
Scores were 50-44 twice and 50-45 for Usman, now 15-1. Woodley, who was making the fifth defense of the title he won from Robbie Lawler in 2016, falls to 19-4-1.
“I might not be the best striker or best pure wrestler, but when it comes mixing it all up, I am the best welterweight in the world right now,” said Usman.
Usman looked for a single leg takedown to start the fight and he got it, despite a brief guillotine choke attempt by Woodley, and that set the tone for the bout. The champion got up to his feet fairly quickly, and the two remained locked up for a spell before Woodley broke free. Usman immediately sought the takedown again, and while Woodley remained upright, Usman was landing good shots to the body while in the clinch. After a restart from referee Marc Goddard with a minute left, Usman again landed solid close range shots before the end of the round.
Going right back into the clinch, Usman’s fast start extended into the second round and was punctuated by a big elbow followed by a huge takedown. Usman went right into the mount position on his bloodied foe, and he alternated with ground strikes and smothering pressure. In the final minute, Usman looked for an arm triangle briefly before finishing the round with more ground strikes.
Woodley tried to start fast in round three, but Usman dodged any incoming fire and bulled the champion into the fence, digging in with thudding body shots along the way. Goddard went on to restart the action twice, but Woodley continued to have issues staying off the fence, putting another round in the challenger’s bank.
Woodley attempted a guillotine choke and pulled guard in the opening minute of round four, but Usman got loose with no problem and took over from the top position. After another odd restart from Goddard, Usman proceeded to add knees in the clinch and once that clinch broke, Usman began landing blistering shots on Woodley, who was rattled but still standing when the horn sounded.
Another guillotine attempt by Woodley began round five, but Usman played it cool and dumped the Missouri native on the deck. Usman fired off strikes from the top position, and Woodley had no answers for him. Now or in the previous 24 minutes. And that’s why there’s a new welterweight champion.
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