Kamaru Usman Levels Up, Beats Tyron Woodley For UFC Championship
In a battle of former folkstyle champions, Kamaru Usman beat Tyron Woodley soundly over 5 rounds, taking the UFC championship and establishing himself as the best welterweight on the planet. He set a record for outlanding Woodley, who just never got out of the blocks in any significant way. With the win, Usman moves to 10-0 in the UFC, and Woodley loses his title after four successful defenses.
Usman, a Division-2 NCAA champion, scored a quick high crotch in the first round, and followed it up with solid positioning and pressure for the entire 25-minutes. Woodley, a former D1 All-American, wasn't able to connect on any takedowns, or even get particularly deep on an attempt. The disparity in takedowns ended up being a huge factor in the fight, and even on the feet Woodley often looked more interested in defending singles and doubles than establishing his own prolonged offense. He admitted himself after the fight that he didn't feel like himself, but that may be due in large part to Usman.
Usman pressured and stalked like a traditional Iowa-style wrestler, always circling in and cutting off angles while moving forward. This kind of pressure never leaves someone the time to reset their feet and balance while taking a breath and thinking. Without this, you fatigue a lot faster and you find yourself reacting rather than acting. Pressure played a huge role, and that's the kind of pressure Kamaru learned on the wrestling mats. Congratulations to the champion!