Heavily rehearsed troll/former interim champ Colby “Chaos” Covington and reigning champion Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman, rival welterweights who have spent the last month (and months) slamming one another, finally got the chance to smesh it out in the cage at Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. And it was a hell of a show.
The set of experienced grapplers came out swinging, trading kicks and strikes immediately while eschewing the wrestling which brought them to the top of their division. Both threw and landed a significant number of strikes–over 100 each–but it was Colby’s jab that was most problematic for Usman, catching the champ several times before he answered Colby with a glove-dropping body shot.
Usman began to lean more on front kicks in the second round but still found himself rocked by Colby’s right as the two continued to brawl rather than take it to the ground. Covington’s swagger began to dissolve in round three, when Usman’s precision striking put a literal jaw breaking combo right on Colby’s chin following what seemed to be an intentional eye poke.
“I broke my jaw,” Colby said matter of factly back in his corner, having survived the break without going down.
The slugfest continued into the fourth, Usman slowing and getting his bell rung by a now wounded and dangerous Colby. Swinging and kicking for the fences, both fighters aimed to end the match in one wild exchange but neither would bend, resetting back into a pace which Usman set and Colby then stole. Despite hard hits and the brutal front kick of Usmans, no knockdowns punctuated the wild round. (Though ref Mark Goddard did have to give them a brief lecture about clean fighting.)
It was round five when Usman finally knocked Colby down with a straight shot down the middle. Covington, showing surprising grit considering the broken jaw and the strike itself, popped back up, but Usman knocked him down again. A half dozen hammerfists and it was over, just as Usman had said it would be in the weeks leading up to the fight.
“I made a lot of mistakes tonight,” said Usman in the post-fight interview, before restating that the plan had always been to “punish” his Make MMA Great Again opponent before finishing him in the final round.
Usman’s record currently stands at 16-1-0.