Jorge Masvidal has stepped in on just six days’ notice to fight Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 251. Watch the UFC 251 main event live stream on ESPN+.
Odds: Usman (-265) vs. Masvidal (+245)
Usman has looked unstoppable as the UFC welterweight champion. After dominating Tyron Woodley to claim the title in March 2019, Usman then defended the title successfully against Colby Covington in December.
Masvidal’s 2019 campaign was among the best in the sport. With wins against Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz, Masvidal quickly rose to stardom and now gets his first opportunity to win a UFC title tonight in Abu Dhabi.
Usman vs. Masvidal play-by-play
Live play-by-play updates and highlights from Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal as it happens at UFC 251.
They refuse to touch gloves. Both guys are so relaxed. Masvidal opens with an outside leg kick. And then inside. Body kick lands. Usman catches the kick and lands on top in Masvidal’s full guard. Masvidal active with elbows and punches from the bottom. Usman just laying heavy. Masvidal grinning on the bottom now and pulling Usman’s head down. Masvidal scrambles out of the position and Usman stays heavy on his upper back. Masvidal is out now and pushing the pace again. Comes forward and Usman attempts to clinch but can’t hold. Masvidal with a big knee inside the clinch. Usman shoots forward and pushes Masvidal to the cage. He drops for a takedown but Masvidal stays strong. Takedown attempt and Masvidal returns to his feet. Strong right overtook for Masvidal helping him maintain his balance, allowing him to post on his left hand. Usman now leaning on him against the cage. Masvidal the much more active fighter but Usman now draining him by laying against him. They reset. Masvidal 1-2 lands and then a jab. Blitzing forward and lands a left hook. Jon Anik reveals that a clash of heads has opened up a cut under Masvidal’s left eye. Big punches landing for Masvidal. Usman still standing in front of him, though, and marching him back. Strong right hands and then Usman finishes the round with heavy body punches against the cage.
Usman controlling the flow of the fight but Masvidal having a greater actual impact right now. The only question is whether that’ll last five rounds.
The Body Lock scores round one for Jorge Masvidal (10-9)
Left hand to the body lands from Usman. Plan may be to target Masvidal’s body and slow him down. Usman shoots for a single-leg takedown but climbs back up to secure underhooks. Attempts to throw Masvidal but he remains balanced and stays standing. Masvidal with an overhook, staying calm with his back against the cage. Usman with foot stomps and knees to the legs of Masvidal. Usman body shots now and they’re trading knees against the cage. Nice short elbow from Masvidal and some separation. Usman back onto him and pushes him to the cage again. Usman smothering Masvidal and landing body punches. A nice punch lands for Usman as they separate again. Usman now pushing Masvidal back to the cage again. Commentator Jon Anik states that a second clash of heads has opened another cut on Masvidal’s head. Usman working Masvidal, pushing him against the cage and mixing up strikes to the body with knees to the legs and foot stomps. Shoulder strikes now. They reset and Masvidal opens up with kicks. Seemingly saved his energy and was ready to explode when they returned to striking range.
The Body Lock scores round two for Kamaru Usman (10-9) and the fight 19-19 after two rounds
Masvidal is breathing heavily and wearing two cuts from the head clashes. Usman controlling the fight so far but Masvidal is dangerous when he has a moment to explode. Masvidal taunting just as Usman closes the distance and smothers him again. Back to foot stomps and knees to the thighs. Masvidal separates but doesn’t move from the cage and instead stands his grounds and fires some strikes. This allows Usman to shoot forward again and push him to the cage again. A low blow from Usman allows Masvidal to rest for a moment after referee Goddard steps in to pause the action.
Fight is back on and they’re back to the center of the cage. Masvidal fires a right hook but Usman evades. Masvidal kicks and Usman shoots for another takedown. This time he secures it and ends up on top. Another big slam takedown for Usman. He’s into side control now. Masvidal scrambles and recovers full guard. Usman staying heavy and bringing elbows down now. Usman has been controlling the position and pace of the round so far. More elbows from top to finish the round.
The Body Lock scores round three for Kamaru Usman (10-9) and the fight 29-28 after three rounds
Usman with an immediate single-leg takedown attempt to start round four. Straight back to the same position that Usman has controlled for the last two rounds. He’s leaning against Masvidal and ripping the body with right hooks and working the legs and feet of Masvidal with his right leg. Not the most exciting fight, but Usman has been dominating since the end of round one. Another takedown. But Masvidal returns to his feet and turns to try and separate. Foot stomps, shoulder strikes, and other close-range techniques. Masvidal pushing and trying to force Usman to retreat and he does after landing a heavy blow. Masvidal now has the center of the cage and he comes in with a spinning back-fist that almost allows Usman to shoot for another takedown. Still standing, though, and Masvidal looks fatigued. Hard 1-2 for Masvidal and now Usman is back on him, working him to the cage. Trading heavy shots now. Usman landing punches and then pushes his way back against the cage again. Usman’s been controlling this fight against the cage and Masvidal hasn’t had an answer for the strong clinch game.
The Body Lock scores round four for Kamaru Usman (10-9) and the fight 39-37 after four rounds
Masvidal needs a finish. He’s well behind on the scorecards as we start round five.
A slow start to the last round. Standing across from each other and Masvidal not pushing the action. Usman comes forward and secures another takedown. He stacks Masvidal and then falls into full guard. Staying heavy on top. Masvidal stuck underneath now. Masvidal throwing his legs up to try and switch position. Usman now in side control with two minutes remaining. Elbows from the top and Masvidal trying to escape. Masvidal scrambles and shoots for a single-leg but Usman stays on top. Masvidal stands. Usman still smothering him. Hard elbow from Masvidal and then a big right hand. Only 20 seconds remaining and he’s trying everything. A flying knee attempt misses. That’s it.
The Body Lock scores round five for Kamaru Usman (10-9) and the fight 49-46 for Usman
Official Result: Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Round 4 over. 39-37 Usman going into the 5th.
Usman won’t gain many new fans this way but he’s doing what he has to do to win and at the end of the day it’s all about the W. Masvidal needs a finish here.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 12, 2020
Fight goes the distance. Usman and Masvidal show respect after. Usman going to take the decision. Fans won't be happy. If you're Usman, I don't think you care. His last fight against Colby was highly entertaining. This one, he couldn't afford to lose. Win how you can.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 12, 2020
— Drake Riggs (@DrakeRiggs_) July 12, 2020
UFC 251 Results
Saturday, July 11 – UFC Fight Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
- Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) 🏆 (play-by-play)
- Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) 🏆 (play-by-play)
- Petr Yan def. Jose Aldo via TKO (ground and pound) – R5, 3:24 🏆 (play-by-play)
- Rose Namajunas def. Jessica Andrade via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) (play-by-play)
- Amanda Ribas def. Paige VanZant via submission (armbar) – R1, 2:21 (play-by-play)
- Jiri Prochazka def. Volkan Oezdemir via KO (punches) – R2, 0:49
- Muslim Salikhov def. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via split decision
- Makwan Amirkhani def. Danny Henry via submission (anaconda choke) – R1, 3:15
- Leonardo Santos def. Roman Bogatov via unanimous decision
- Marcin Tybura def. Maxim Grishin via unanimous decision
- Raulian Paiva def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov via unanimous decision
- Karol Rosa def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision
- Davey Grant def. Martin Day via KO/TKO (left hook) – R3, 2:38
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.