The Nigerian nightmare, Kamaru Usman, defeated longtime rival Colby Covington through the unanimous decision of the UFC 268 judges held at Madison Square Garden to retain his UFC welterweight title.
Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington had faced each other in the past in December 2019 during UFC 245, and Nigerian Nighmare prevailed on that occasion via a fifth round TKO that saw him crack Covington’s jaw. It was a first title defense for Kamaru Usman, as he had claimed the welterweight title from Tyron Woodley only nine months ago.
In the days and weeks leading up to the rematch, Usman and Covington had nothing but threats to each other, and once they got into battle, it was a war of attrition in the octagon.
Kamaru Usman had the head start when he used his power advantage to keep Covington under his control, forcing him to fight on Usman’s terms away from his own strengths. Usman secured the first knockdown of the fight when a brutal left hook caught Covington flush in the face and crashed him to the ground in the second round. However, he held out until the horn blew to indicate the end of the round.
Skilled at wrestling, Covington secured a takedown of his own at the end of round three, but Usman had none of that as he immediately stood up and continued the fight. Round four was more explosive as Covington finally caught on and injured Usman more than he ever had in previous rounds. The Nigerian Nightmare showed a cold head to keep the challenger at bay until he honked the horn.
Round five was an exercise in patience and control on Usman’s part as he moved around the ring to prevent Covington from having a chance to tie the fight. Usman showed his composure and experience to hold out for the win.
Judges Derek Cleary, Dave Tirelli and Sal D’Amato ruled the fight 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47, all in favor of Kamaru Usman, giving him a unanimous decision win. It was Usman’s fifteenth consecutive UFC win, bringing him only one distance from Anderson Silva’s record of 16 straight wins. He remains the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world after his victory.