Nigerian Ultimate Fighting Championship champion, Kamaru Usman, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, retained his UFC welterweight title after beating America’s Jorge Masdival in Abu Dhabi. Usman who declared “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,’’ after the fight beat the American after scoring a unanimous points decision of 50-45, 50-45, and 49-46. It will be recalled that Masdival had only six days to prepare for the fight after Brazilian Gilbert Burns who was supposed to challenge the Nigerian to the title tested positive for coronavirus which cancelled his travel plans to Abu Dhabi for the fight.
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Usman, 33, put on a ‘’Fight Island masterclass’’ to fulfil the dreams of supremo Dana White to have a coronavirus-free Fight Island (three world title fights were held in the Island), an idea he floated when the virus suspended sporting events across the globe in March. The Nigerian Nightmare looked fresher than the 35-year-old American which has brought so much attention to the fact that he had less time to prepare for the fight compared to Usman, but the Nigerian was quick to discard such claims, stating confidently that all fighters are always prepared to fight him.
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I know a lot of noise was made about him preparing on short notice but all these guys are preparing for one guy and that’s me. I’m just at a level better. I have more tools in the toolbox and when I need to I can pull them out and use them
Strict health protocols mean athletes and staff are tested twice in their native country before leaving for the UAE, with the same routine on arrival in the UAE, and 48-hours in quarantine before being allowed into the corona virus-free Island. These measures meant that the coach of Masdival had to also miss the fight as he tested positive to COVID-19. Sunday’s fight also saw Usman equal George Pierre’s UFC welterweight record of 12 straight victories, making him the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament. Kamaru Usman also ranks sixth in the world’s UFC men’s pound-to-pound rankings.
Featured Image Source: Bleacher Report
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