Kamaru Usman remains the king of the UFC welterweight division, after he scored a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 251 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
It was the main event of the first card held at "Fight Island," a location in Abu Dhabi where the promotion has already held events.
Masvidal was a sentimental favorite after taking the bout on six days' notice, having gotten the shot when Usman's original opponent, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for COVID-19.
However, Usman dominated the bout, with judges scoring it 50-45, 50-45, and 49-46.
Masvidal did well to start, utilizing his striking to keep Usman at bay.
But the "Nigerian Nightmare" eventually took him down, and it was all Usman from there.
The champion improved to 17-1 in his MMA career, while Masvidal fell to 35-14.
Meanwhile, Alexander Volkanovski settled for a split decision to keep his UFC featherweight title against Max Holloway. Two judges scored the bout 48-47 for the champion, and the other had the same score for the challenger.
Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo failed in his bid to claim the UFC bantamweight belt, falling to Petr Yan via technical knockout in the fifth round. A back-and-forth showdown went Yan's way in the fifth, when he hurt Aldo with a combination before swarming the Brazilian legend. The referee stopped the fight at the 3:24 mark of the final round.
Rose Namajunas got a measure of revenge against Jessica Andrade, winning their rematch via split decision.
Andrade had dethroned Namajunas in May 2019, but "Thug Rose" got the better of her this time, with two judges scoring the fight 29-28 in her favor.
Amanda Ribas made a statement in the flyweight division by making quick work of veteran Paige VanZant, tapping VanZant via armbar just two minutes and 21 seconds in the first round.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).