Champs “The Nigerian Nightmare” and “Thug Rose” retain their titles in interesting tactical affairs while the pair of lightweights threw caution to the wind
Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas passed big tests at UFC 268 on Saturday night, retaining their status as champions in rematches against talented and dangerous rivals. Having defeated Colby Covington and Weili Zhang, respectively, both champions leave Madison Square Garden in New York City knowing that more stiff tests for their championships await.
Kamaru Usman defeated Colby Covington by unanimous decision to retain the UFC welterweight championship at UFC 268 in New York on Saturday night. With the win, Usman improved to 20-1-0, and has won 19 fights in a row, including five title defenses under his belt. “I am the pound-for-pound best alive right now,” said the Champ.
Covington, the former interim welterweight champion, dropped to 16-3-0.
New York State Athletic Commission judges Derek Cleary (49-46), Dave Tirelli (48-47) and Sal D’Amato (48-47) all submitted scorecards in Usman’s favor.
‘Thug’ Rose proves her point!
“Thug” Rose Namajunas proved that her second title win was not a fluke. One downside of a title win that comes in less than two minutes is that some fans and media will write your victory off as a fluke. When Namajunas landed a head kick and a few follow-up punches to score a quick TKO over Zhang in April, becoming a two-time women’s strawweight champion in the process, her her victor was criticized by some into that “lucky shot” category.
Namajunas got off to a rocky start in the rematch, with Zhang landing early leg kicks and even utilizing some wrestling to make things difficult for the champion. Namajunas made every necessary adjustment throughout the fight, keeping a good distance that better allowed her to utilize her reach and then realizing she could score with her own takedowns to dominate the championship rounds with her top game.
While the old adage that “you’re not a true champion until you’ve defended your title” is utter nonsense, Namajunas erased any doubts as to her true place in the strawweight division by having to go through the fire in the rematch with Zhang. “Thug” Rose Namajunas is a true champion.
Judge Michael Bell submitted a 48-47 scorecard for Weili, while Eric Colon (49-46) and Doug Crosby (48-47) had Namajunas winning the fight.
Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler deliver a memorable fight!
There have been plenty of fights in UFC history given the “can’t miss” label only to disappoint in one way or the other. This was not the case whatsoever when Chandler and Gaethje went to war to kick off the UFC 268 main card. It was expected that the heavy-hitting fighters would throws bombs until one man connected and someone goes to sleep in a fight that would win Fight of the Night.
Although what was expected happened, neither man stayed down and instead of Fight of the Night, Gaethje and Chandler put on arguable the fight of the year – and a fight that will surely go down as one of the best in the history of the Octagon and UFC.
Justin Gathje opened the five-fight main card with a three-round unanimous decision over Michael Chandler. Promoted as “The People’s Main Event”, and viewed as contender for Fight of the Night honors, Gathje and Chandler may have authored MMA’s fight of the year and one of the great fights in UFC history. The two lightweights had an an all-action fight. Gathje got the first knockdown, as he dropped Chandler nearly two minutes into the second round, and then spent the next minute trying to submit his rival. But Chandler maneuvered his way out.
Chandler returned the favor in the third round as he suplexed Gathje, who was able to get back to his feet. The two traded strikes for the remainder.
Gathje, who received scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27 from judges, praised Chandler in his post-fight interview.
- Ode Osbourne b. Carlos Vergara via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Melsik Baghdasaryan b. Bruno Souza via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Dustin Jacoby b. John Allan via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)
- Chris Barnett b. Gian Villante via second-round TKO (2:23)
- Ian Garry b. Jordan Williams via first-round KO (4:59)
- Nassourdine Imavov b. Edmen Shahbazyan via second-round TKO (4:42)
- Chris Curtis b. Phil Hawes via first-round KO (4:27)
- Bobby Green b. Al Iaquinta via first-round TKO (2:25)
- Alex Pereira b. Andreas Michailidis via second-round TKO (0:18)
UFC 268 Main card results
- Justin Gaethje b. Michael Chandler via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Shane Burgos b. Billy Quarantillo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
- Marlon Vera b. Frankie Edgar via third-round KO (3:50)
- UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship: Rose Namajunas (c) b. Zhang Weili via split-decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
- UFC Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman (c) b. Colby Covington via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-7, 49-46)