If Kamaru Usman didn’t secure himself a UFC welterweight title shot with his performance against Rafael dos Anjos, he’s at least very close to one. “The Nigerian Nightmare” had a couple of scares but otherwise overwhelmed the former lightweight champion in The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale main event. Don’t let the one judge who actually scored it 48-47 fool you into thinking it wasn’t largely one-sided. Usman is 9-0 inside the Octagon, while RDA has now lost two straight at 170 lbs.
Usman took the initiative by leading the striking exchanges and shooting for takedowns. He was able to get two on RDA, but the Brazilian was able to return to his feet on the first occasion. Battles in the clinch didn’t muster up much, but the second takedown featured some drama. Usman got off some good ground-and-pound but ate a heavy upkick in the closing seconds, and he ate it like nothing.
Dos Anjos’ best round was the second, as he cranked a kimura on Usman after being taken down, but Usman worked hard to get out of it, and dos Anjos was able to return to his feet. He appeared to stun Usman with an upward elbow and a few other strikes as the round drew to a close.
From there, it was all Usman. Despite RDA’s best efforts, the constant pressuring and takedowns by Usman took their toll on the Brazillian. Usman also landed several very good strikes on the feet, showcasing improved stand-up and particularly effective work to the body. Dos Anjos was getting beaten up on the ground and Usman was able to control most of the grappling exchanges. Rounds four and five saw Usman outland dos Anjos 102-7 in total strikes, as an exhausted RDA was arguably too tough for his own good. On the feet, Usman was fresh and throwing big power shots. On the ground, RDA was conceding easy takedowns and struggling to get up, compared to earlier rounds. His desperation guillotine led to him giving up side control, and Usman dropped some elbows, left hands, and right hands in the final minute of the fight. It was a complete showing from Usman, and he continues to improve.
Official result: Kamaru Usman def. Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision (50-43, 49-45, 48-47)
About the author