UFC

UFC 261: Usman knocks out Masvidal to retain title

By Sports Desk April 25, 2021

Kamaru Usman knocked out Jorge Masvidal before a packed arena Saturday, retaining his welterweight title at UFC 261. 

Usman (19-1-0) dropped Masvidal (35-15-0) with a right hand to the jaw one minute, two seconds into the second round.

The devastating blow landed seconds after the American had faced Usman with his hands lowered, smiling at the Nigerian. 

Usman has won 14 consecutive fights, trailing only Anderson Silva's 16-fight run from 2006 to 2012 in UFC history. 

"I know with my fundamentals I am the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet right now," Usman said. 

 

Usman's strike prompted an eruption from the crowd of 15,269 in Jacksonville, Florida, capping an evening billed as the first full-capacity indoor event since the coronavirus pandemic took off in March 2020. 

The marquee fight was a rematch from UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi last July, which Usman won by unanimous decision. 

Saturday marked only the second time in his long career that Masvidal has been knocked out, with the previous one occuring in 2008. 

In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas (11-4-0) knocked out Zhang Weili (21-2-0) with a kick to the head at 1:18 in the first round to reclaim the strawweight title -- the first woman to do so in any weight class in UFC history. 

The American originally won the belt in November 2017 but lost it to Jessica Andrade in May 2019. She defeated Andrade in the rematch at UFC 251. 

Andrade (21-9-0) also was on Saturday's card, falling via TKO to Valentina Shevchenko (21-3-0) in the second round. 

Earlier, veteran fighter Chris Weidman's lower right leg appeared to snap on a kick 17 seconds into his bout with Uriah Hall (17-9), ending the match in a TKO. Weidman, 36, was carried out on a stretcher. 

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