Kamaru Usman retained his welterweight title in devastating style as he knocked out Jorge Masvidal in their main event in front of a full house of fans at UFC 261 in Florida.
Usman connected with a spectacular straight right hand early in the second round of the contest at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, rendering Masvidal instantly unconscious before following up with a series of blows on his grounded rival that many will have felt were unnecessary.
“You all said you wanted violence,” Usman proclaimed to the fiercely pro-Masvidal crowd after knocking the home hero out cold.
“No disrespect, thank you to my man [Masvidal] … The sky is the limit for me. I’m the pound for pound best fighter on the planet.”
Usman’s victory came in emphatic fashion, as he starched a rival who had taken him all five rounds after stepping in at just six days’ notice when the pair first fought in Abu Dhabi last July.
This time, The Nigerian Nightmare did not need to go anywhere near the distance as he extended his unbeaten record inside the UFC octagon to 14 fights, and will rightly be pushed further into the conversation as one of the all-time greats.
For Miami fan favorite Masvidal it was a bitter blow to take in front of an adoring crowd in Florida, although once he had recovered his senses he took the loss with grace.
“First time in my career, I’ve never been knocked out, it hurts,” he said.
“All the props to him, he’s got my number, he won this fight fair and square.
“It’s a little mosquito bite, I’m fine now,” he reassured his family watching from home.
Masvidal had started confidently in front of the capacity crowd – the first for the UFC since the pandemic struck last year – and handled the grappling threat of Usman competently in the first round.
But despite the smiles from Gamebred in between throwing punches, it was Usman who earned the last laugh – and brutally so when he connected with a huge right hand one minute into the second round.
For Usman it was a fourth title defense at 170lbs and his 14 straight wins since debuting in the UFC is second only to Brazilian legend Anderson Silva.
As for what comes next for the 33-year-old, a conspicuous clue may have been cageside in Florida as former victim Colby Covington watched on, goading his rival.
Usman finished the brash American in the first defense of his title at UFC 245 in December of 2019, but promotion boss Dana White has tipped a rematch with the brash American as being next up for the Nigerian-born star.
Such is Usman’s dominance in the welterweight ranks, he could find himself short of worthy contenders.