Kamaru Usman
Nigerian Nightmare


Title fight expected for February
November 17, 2020
Usman's welterweight title defense against Gilbert Burns is expected to take place on on Feb. 13, Raphael Marinho of Combate reports.
The matchup has been scheduled twice before. It was originally set for July 11 but was cancelled due to Burns' positive COVID-19 test. It was later set for Dec. 12 but delayed again, as Usman reportedly needed more time to prepare. While it hasn't yet been fully finalized, the fight appears to be finally set to go forward, as it's been verbally agreed to by both camps. Usman enters this fight as a strong betting favorite at (-225) as of November, but that mark is still less than it was entering previous title defenses against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
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Title fight is off for now
October 5, 2020
The UFC welterweight title between Usman and Gilbert Burns will not take place on Dec. 12 as previously scheduled, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
According to the report, Usman just felt he needed a little more time to be ready. There is no new date at the moment, but it seems likely to be rescheduled to either January or February. This fight originally was supposed to be on July 11, but Burns ended up withdrawing after a positive COVID-19 test and Usman handily defeated replacement Jorge Masvidal.
Title fight set against Burns
September 1, 2020
Usman will face Gilbert Burns in a welterweight title fight on December 12, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
This bout was supposed to take place originally on July 11, but Burns had to pull out after a positive COVID-19 test. Usman was able to handily defeated his replacement opponent Jorge Masvidal and bring his UFC record to 12-0. This battle for the welterweight title will be on the same card as the Amanda Nunes and Megan Anderson title fight for UFC 256.
Facing medical suspension
July 17, 2020
Usman has been suspended for 180 days or until a doctor clears his nasal X-ray, Nolan King and Farah Hannoun of MMAJunkie.com report. He also will need to go 21 days without any contact.
Usman took care of business in his title defense Saturday, taking down Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45,50-45,49-46) to retain his Welterweight belt. Unfortunately, he picked up a fairly significant nasal injury along the way that could cost him a little added time. Still, he may not need to sit the full 180 days if the nose gets an all-clear from a doctor.
Cruises to successful title defense
July 11, 2020
Usman successfully defended his UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi.
It was another dominant effort from Usman. Recognizing the edge Masvidal possessed on the feet, Usman made a concerted effort to close the gap between the two men whenever possible. His takedown attempts didn't land with regularity, but every single time Usman forced Masvidal to stuff a try resulted in Jorge having less and less time to implement his edge in the striking game. Usman began to land a bit more on the feet as Masvidal tired. By the time the final rounds rolled around, Usman was in full control. He got creative with his striking as well, frequently putting to use foot stomps and shoulder strikes when he had Masvidal pressed against the cage, similar to a tactic employed by light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. In the end, it was a clear-cut decision for one of the most dominant fighters of the past few years. It's extremely difficult to knock a fighter who is now a perfect 12-0 in the UFC, but if you were to nitpick, the one knock on Usman is that he has stopped just three of those dozen opponents. Yet as Michael Bisping correctly said during the broadcast, all that matters is that you win, and Usman has done that every single time he has stepped into the Octagon. Usman was originally scheduled to face Gilbert Burns on Saturday before the latter was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test. It appears to be a near certainty that the company will re-book that pairing for Usman's next title defense. Burns possesses the all-around arsenal to give Usman a more significant challenge than Masvidal did in this one.
New title fight locked in
July 6, 2020
Usman will officially defend his welterweight championship against Jorge Masvidal on July 11 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
This was a fight that came together on just a week's notice, as the originally-scheduled matchup between Usman and Gilbert Burns was forced to be scrapped after Burns tested positive for COVID-19. Usman had been listed as roughly a (-230) favorite against Burns, but the line has widened with the change in opponent, as Usman can be found anywhere from (-275) to (-320) depending on the sportsbook. Usman will enter this matchup with height and reach advantages against Masvidal, plus statistical advantages in significant strikes absorbed, significant strikes landed, takedown volume and takedown defense. Masvidal is a skilled striker himself, but the longer this fight goes on, the more likely it will be that Usman can grind out a decision, just as he's done throughout his 11-0 UFC run.