Credit: Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC
Jorge Masvidal they were complicated accepting the stellar of UFC 251 versus Kamaru Usman a week in advance, and the end result is therefore not surprising. Credit to the “Baddest Motherfucker” who sought to make every moment count in a difficult fight, throwing his rival with jabs and rights and connecting good kicks to the body when he could, but as soon as his back touched the cage the fight was another. In four of five rounds Usman dominated Masvidal with his usual style, controlling in the clinch against the cage, scoring takedowns and rolling on the canvas with his physical power and fighting skills. The fight wasn’t really even, and a clear unanimous decision for Usman..
Set up the immediate rematch after the first crossing between Max holloway and Alexander Volkanovski it seemed difficult to justify but both men did their best in a very close match that ended in a split decision for still featherweight champion Volkanovski. In particular, Holloway shone under the circumstances and showed that he still has a lot to give. Because “Blessed” didn’t make a lot of adjustments, altering his offense could almost completely change the dynamics of the fight. With his usual pressure and volume still blocked, Holloway made more use of kicks and long punches to maintain even exchanges.
Volkanovski maintained his strategy of the first match, working with constant kicks to the legs to subtract the best tools from BlessedAlthough he still found success, he had to change on the fly given his rival’s new approach. Touched and stunned in a few exchanges and at a distance, “The Great” found opportunities to pressure a less active Holloway than usual, using his kicks to go into bursts of punches and then adding clinches and takedowns that may well have earned him the fight with control time and in the eyes of the judges.
Say what you want, Jose Aldo it is great among the greats. But it is also true that their time at the top, among the elite of the elite, comes to an end. And still, laudable performance from the former featherweight champion, cutting at 135 pounds and facing the extremely tough Petr Yan. The physical skills are still present but diminished, its power less remarkable, its speed appears in moments, its hardness is not what it was, But it was Aldo’s experience that allowed him to be competitive, using his leg kicks, controlling the pace and position with defense and finding the moments to connect short but precise bursts to win rounds..
But the years pass for everyone, and as in all sports, new talents arise seeking to forge their legends. In this case, Petr Yan. The fight showed certain defensive deficiencies of “No Mercy”, but the Russian was able to keep the pressure on his rival, turning each success of Aldo into an even exchange, trusting in a monstrous cardio that let him roll over the Brazilian little by little. The end came in the fifth round, a left that left the exhausted and already damaged Aldo on the canvas, absorbing an excruciating punishment until the referee stopped the fight and crowned Petr Yan the bantamweight champion in three minutes and 24 seconds.
Rose Namajunas got revenge on Jessica Andrade, taking the split decision in their rematch to their 2019 crossover. Although the result was different, the fight was almost as tough for “Thug Rose”. Namajunas knew how to work with movement, defense and precision, connecting long jabs and rights almost at will throughout the fight, keeping his rival at bay for long stretches, but “Bate Estaca” does not stop. Throughout the fight Andrade pressed hard blows that finally paid off in the third round, severely stunning his opponent and distorting his face, but Namajunas showed his mettle surviving the bad time and staying in the fight to win two of the judges .
It took Amanda Ribas just two minutes 21 seconds to subdue Paige VanZant via armbar. Now 2-3 in his last five fights and without consecutive wins since 2015, “PVZ” managed to draw blood from his rival’s nose but still found no moments of success. Ribas pushed from the start, entered the clinch comfortably and brought the action to the canvas almost effortlessly with a sweep. Immediately lateral control to submission attempts, VanZant’s escape attempt allowed Ribas to isolate his arm and roll to the armbar that closed the fight.