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Usman defeats No. 5 Maia, stays unbeaten in UFC

USMAN vs MAIA

Kamaru Usman may not have made the spectacular statement he wanted to in his UFC Fight Night main event against Demian Maia on Saturday night, but at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, “The Nigerian Nightmare” did get the big win over a top five contender he needed, as he turned back the former world title challenger via unanimous decision.

“For the longest, everyone’s talking about that I haven’t fought a top ten guy,” said Usman, who said after the fight that he broke both of his hands during the five-rounder. “That’s a legend, a two-time title challenger, and I just dominated him from start to finish.”

The final scores read 50-45 and 49-46 twice for the No. 7-ranked Usman, who improves to 13-1. The No. 5-ranked Maia, who replaced the injured Santiago Ponzinibbio on short notice, falls to 25-9.


Maia scored the first takedown of the fight in the second minute, only to see Usman jump right back up. Maia remained locked up with his foe against the fence, but with a little under 90 seconds left, referee Leon Roberts restarted the stalled action. As the two remained on the feet until the horn, Maia landed the most significant blow of the round, a hard left hand that got Usman’s attention.

Usman stuffed Maia’s first three takedown attempts in round two, making sure to get in some strikes in between these defensive stops. And while Maia jumped guard, it was in the final 20 seconds, giving him little time to do anything with the takedown.

Maia’s takedowns continued to come up short in the third round and Usman, while not spectacular, was getting more confident as the fight progressed and he put another round in the bank.

Early in round four, an Usman right hand put Maia on the canvas, and soon after, Maia was cut over the left eye as well. When the two rose, Maia’s takedown attempt was turned away, with Usman getting in short punches in response.

The fifth was another round for Usman, with Maia having few answers for the rising star, who has now won 12 in a row, a streak that includes an 8-0 UFC slate.


Saturday, February 2
Fortaleza, Brazil

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