Wrestling Standouts Usman And Woodley Face Off For UFC Gold This Saturday
It's been a long, winding road but finally UFC Champion Tyron Woodley will be meeting up with Kamaru Usman in the co-main event of UFC 235, a battle of two of the divisions best wrestlers. These are two really powerful, very smart fighters who bring long histories of winning with them, and all of it started on the wrestling mats. While Woodley is probably the more credentialed of the two, whoever is able to dominate the clinch and the takedowns is really anyone's guess at this point, as neither man has shown much of a flaw in their matwork yet.
Tyron Woodley is the champion, and a really underappreciated talent in the cage. He has held the belt for almost three years now, defending it against champion kickboxer Stephen Thompson (twice), omega-level BJJ specialist Demian Maia, and knockout artist (and habitual weight-misser) Darren Till, and now he walks into this defense as one of the most credentialed welterweights ever. He began his career as a Missouri Tiger wrestler, placing 8th in 2003 and 7th in 2005 to become a two-time All American. He owns a 19-3-1 record, and has a 21-3 takedown differential in his career (along with a very precise thai boxing skillset that has dropped and KO'd some great strikers). He averages at least one takedown a fight, but that will be difficult against someone of Usman's calibur, so don't be surprised if he keeps this on his feet.
Kamaru Usman was a D2 National Champion for University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2008, where he was a 3-time All American and helped his team win a national title. He also was on the University world team in 2010, and competed regularly on the senior freestyle circuit. He's got a 14-1 record, and has NEVER been taken down in MMA competition, while averaging over a takedown per round in the cage.
Wrestling is one of the toughest sports in the world, and it's great to see our athletes able to represent us in the cage. No matter who wins, a wrestler will stay on top of the 170lb-division.