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Usman knocks out Masvidal in rematch to retain title

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Kamaru Usman defended his welterweight title with a brutal knockout at UFC 261 on Saturday.

In a rematch against one of his biggest rivals, Usman (19-1 MMA, 14-0 UFC) knocked out Jorge Masvidal with a violent overhand right to retain his championship at the 1:02 mark of Round 2.

The welterweight title bout was the UFC 261 main event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

Masvidal (35-14 MMA, 12-7 UFC) came out firing with leg kicks in Round 1, to which Usman returned with overhand rights. While the fight remained on the feet in the opening minutes, a Masvidal knee attempt opened up the door for Usman to take the fight to the ground with a slam.

With the crowd thoroughly behind him, Masvidal rose to his feet to the delight of the crowd. Once back in the center, Masvidal landed his best shots of the fight – a punch and a knee.

In Round 2, both fighters opened up. Masvidal oozed confidence, but it was Usman who had the last laugh. A massive overhand right from Usman put Masvidal down. From there, only a few follow-up hammerfists were needed for referee Herb Dean to step in.

With the victory, Usman extended his winning streak to 18 straight – a stretch that extends before his UFC debut. His 14 straight wins to open his UFC career are second only to Anderson Silva. Since he dethroned Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March 2019, Usman has successfully defended his 170-pound title four times.

For Masvidal, the loss signifies back-to-back defeats, both against Usman. The losses were his first since 2017 and came on the heels of a three-fight winning streak. The knockout defeat was the first time Masvidal had been finished since May 2009.

Usman and Masvidal first squared off at UFC 251 in July 2020 after Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from the card. Masvidal stepped in on six days’ notice for his first UFC title shot, which he lost to Usman via unanimous decision.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 261 results include:

  • Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:02
  • Rose Namajunas def. Zhang Weili via knockout (head kick, punches) – Round 1, 1:18
  • Valentina Shevchenko def. Jessica Andrade via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:19
  • Uriah Hall def. Chris Weidman via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 0:17
  • Anthony Smith def. Jimmy Crute via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 1, 5:00
  • Randy Brown def. Alex Oliveira via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:50
  • Dwight Grant def. Stefan Sekulic via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Brendan Allen def. Karl Roberson via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 4:55
  • Pat Sabatini def. Tristan Connelly via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Danaa Batgerel def. Kevin Natividad via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:50
  • Kazula Vargas def. Rong Zhu via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Jeffrey Molina def. Qileng Aori via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Ariane Carnelossi def. Na Liang via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:28

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