The Nigerian Nightmare, Kamaru Usman, defeated long-time rival, Colby Covington via unanimous decision from the judges at UFC 268 held in the Madison Square Garden to retain his UFC Welterweight title.
Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington had faced in the past in December 2019 during UFC 245, and the Nigerian Nighmare prevailed on that occasion via a fifth-round TKO that saw him smash Covington’s jaw. It was a first title defence for Kamaru Usman, as he had claimed the Welterweight title from Tyron Woodley only nine months earlier.
In the days and weeks leading up to their rematch, Usman and Covington had nothing but threats for each other, and once they set out to do battle, it was a war of attrition in the octagon.
Kamaru Usman had the early advantage as he made use of his power advantage to keep Covington under his control, forcing him to fight on Usman’s terms away from his own strengths. Usman secured the fight’s first knockdown when a brutal left hook caught Covington flush in the face and sent him crashing to the ground in the second round. He, however, held on until the horn sounded to signify the end of the round.
Skilled at wrestling, Covington secured a takedown of his own at the end of the third round, but Usman was having none of it as he stood up immediately and continued the fight. The fourth round was more explosive as Covington finally gained a foothold and hurt Usman more than he had ever done in the preceding rounds. The Nigerian Nightmare showed a cool head to hold off the challenger until the horn sounded.
The fifth round was an exercise in patience and control by Usman as he moved in the ring to prevent Covington from getting a chance to tie up the fight. Usman showed his composure and experience to hold on for the win.
The judges Derek Cleary, Dave Tirelli, and Sal D’Amato ruled the fight 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47, all in favour of Kamaru Usman, giving him a win via unanimous decision. It was Usman’s 15th consecutive win in the UFC, taking him to only one behind the record of 16 consecutive wins set by Anderson Silva. He remains the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world after his win.