The main fight at UFC 251 was supposed to be between Camaro Usman and Gilbert Burns. However, the Brazilian contracted the coronavirus. Dana White quickly found a replacement in Jorge Masvidal, and the tournament has only benefited from that – Jorge is now one of the most popular fighters in the promotion.
But a year and a half ago he wasn’t. Sure, Masvidal was known by everyone who follows MMA, but he looked like a fighter who was coming from a fairground. Over 40 fights under his belt, quite a few losses. He seemed like an easy victim for Darren Till. And the Brit got off to a great start. But eventually Jorge knocked him out hard. Then he fought Leon Edwards in the backstage area during an interview, which also added to his popularity. Then there was the famous knockout in the 5th second of his fight with Ben Askren and a win over Nate Diaz in the BMF belt bout.
Now Masvidal is a superstar. It came to the point, that it was him, but not Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor (truth, the latter supposedly ended his career) that was put on the cover of UFC 4. He was paired with Israel Adesanya.
Kamaru was the clear favorite for the bout
UFC welterweight champion Usman graciously gave Jorge a chance at a rematch. The rivals first met last summer at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Jorge surrendered his spot on short notice to ensure the event could go on. With six days to prepare, Masvidal surprised everyone with his resilience as he held his own for all five rounds against the dominant champion – even though Jorge hadn’t prepared for him!
After losing but standing up valiantly against the Olympic gold medalist for just over 20 minutes, then-champion Masvidal was able to stand by himself and justify himself after all based on how good he had looked during their match months earlier when they were heads of rival gyms eight hours apart from one another!
He tried to show the same confidence at the start of the second round. Jorge smiled in his opponent’s face, signaling that he didn’t care about missed punches. Moments after one of these episodes, Usman delivered a gorgeous and heavy right jab to Masvidal’s jaw. Jorge was instantly knocked down on the canvas, and the champion managed to get a couple more Hammerfists to the unarmed target.
A victory that helped Usman move into sole possession of second place
A classy victory that helped Usman move into sole possession of the second most consecutive wins in UFC history. He now has 14. Previously, he shared second place with such greats as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, Max Holloway and Demetrious Johnson. Anderson Silva is two wins away from the No. 1 ranking, which is held by Anderson Silva.
In any case, we can already say that Usman’s legacy is terrific. There’s a reason Dana White put him above Georges St. Pierre in the run-up to the tournament, calling Kamara the greatest welterweight in history. Today, the Nigerian-American proved it, defeating Masvidal with his own weapons and getting away with virtually no fighting elements.
How did the fight turn out in general
The fight was exactly what most of the fans expected. The only round where Jorge made any difference in the octagon was the first one. In the first five minutes he had a huge advantage in the standup but Usman was always the boss in the ground. It took him only 17 seconds to move his opponent. Masvidal got out and outclassed Camara four times in punches in the first five minutes. That, however, was still not enough for a convincing win: only one referee out of three gave the opening round to Masvidal.
Throughout the rest of the fight the picture was unchanged: Usman clamped his opponent at the net and drained him, working in the clinch. This position was the main part of the fight. The other part was on the floor. Neither way could Masvidal oppose anything to Camar. Mainly because Jorge is weaker than Camaroo in wrestling.
You have to give credit to Masvidal at least for making it through all five rounds. If he had been after a full camp – who knows, maybe he wouldn’t have gasped in the third round and managed to show a lot more in the standup. He had a good chance there, even today. But he probably wasn’t too disappointed, after all he made some good money, which he didn’t count on until a week ago.