In a killer main event at UFC 235, Kamaru Usman disemboweled Tyron Woodley to capture the welterweight title. Saturday’s co-main event turned into a five-round war as the undefeated Nigerian (15-1) outlasted all expectations, winning his 10th consecutive fight. Usman scored (50-44 twice, 50-45) and CBS Sports also followed suit with a 50-44 scoreline in his favour.
“How long have you been telling them no one can fight me?” said Usman to UFC commentator Joe Rogan after the fight. “I’ve wanted this fight for a long time. I’ll be honest, I may not be the best puncher in the world, I may not be the best fighter in the world, but when it comes to mixing that shit up, I’m the damn best welterweight on the planet right now.”
Woodley has never been in a fight. With the exception of one close round, Usman controlled everything and Woodley was lucky to survive to the final minute.
How the fight went down
“Woodley said McCarren came out and started the fight,” Woodley said. “I was prepared for it, but I just didn’t take advantage of opportunities when they were presented.”
Usman dominated Woodley from the clinch, eventually controlling him on the ground after knocking him down early in the fight. After that he took every opportunity with a flurry of body punches and elbow strikes from close range.
“He has had a great game with punches and take-downs,” said Woodley. “He was very heavy on top. I give him my hat off to him, I was ready for this fight. Thanks to him.”
Woodley, 36, saw his corner urge him to be more aggressive and go forward after each round. But with the exception of a small handful of short right hands, the champion was in the quick sand all evening as Usman wore him down with the body. A short elbow to the face from the clinch clipped Woodley’s right eye late in the second round. The challenger later punched Woodley in the fifth round to deliver a dominant take-down and finish the fight as hard as he started it.
“First of all, let’s praise Tyrone Woodley. This is a champion who came in here and dominated and a lot of people hate the man,” Usman said. “But when you talk about the best welterweights ever, this guy should be on that list.”
Woodley’s only sign of hope came in the final round when he exchanged punches and kicks with Usman, though Woodley was exhausted and Usman threw cleaner punches.
“Something we work on in our gym is to have all kinds of bodies,” Usman said. “I come from humble beginnings, Nigeria. I never dreamed I would be on this platform.”
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