Kamaru Usman faced tough Norwegian Emil Meek in an outstanding welterweight matchup tonight (Sun., Jan. 14, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 124 from Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, live on FOX Sports 1. Usman had won five straight inside the Octagon, undefeated since 2013, while Meek (pronounced “Meck” had won his UFC debut convincingly against Jordan Mein; the winner would have a case for being among the best welterweight prospects in the world.
Usman came out in a crouch and Meek threw a one-two. Immediately, Usman got up and shot in on a single-leg, getting it but falling into Meek’s guillotine attempt. Meek cranked it hard, while Usman stayed calm and eventually waited it out. Now in Meek’s guard, Usman worked Meek back to the cage, where Meek stood partly up. Usman held him in a bodylock, kneeing him in the legs. Usman dragged him down halfway, Meek fighting his hands. Usman repeatedly tripped Meek, finally getting the big throw and slam. He got into side position, using tight top control and landing very short slamming elbows to Meek’s midsection. Meek pushed off the cage with his feet and scrambled partly up, but couldn’t get full separation, Usman once again controlling him in the wrestlers ride. Usman went for a choke momentarily, then got top control again. Meek ate a couple huge punches and landed downward elbows from the guard to the top of Usman’s head.
Meek started the second round kicking the body and arms of Usman. He spun off a caught kick and landed a cracking spinning backfist on Usman. Kamaru ate it and pushed forward, looking for that takedown. He pressed Meek against the cage, looking to off-balance Meek. He got a slam, then went back to the wrestler’s ride on the cage. Meek wasn’t making it easy, but Usman used a variety of trips and drags to drag him down repeatedly. He got top control, but the crowd really began to boo, Meek looking for a kimura and stalling the fight for a few moments. Meek landed repeated hard elbows as Usman looked to pass, and Usman responded by dropping elbows in return. He postured and landed a couple punches before the round ended. Another grimy round for Usman.
Meek kicked and looked to counter Usman to start the final frame. He caught Kamaru with a cup kick, and the crowd booed as Usman tried to bounce it off. Meek backed up Usman with a combination, but Usman ducked, ripped, and shot in on Meek’s hips. Meek looked for those downward elbows but Usman picked him up bodily and slammed him down. He stood in guard and Meek kicked off, but the moment they began trading Usman shot in again, re-establishing wrestler’s ride as a dominant position of control. It’s a smart approach from Usman, controlling an opponent who knew he needed a knockout to win. Usman continued to control the bout, slamming Meek again and allowing not a moment of separation, until the final bell rang. Meek got up and swore, frustrated.
Usman said in the post-fight interview he fought Meek at 30% and dominated a Viking. He said he is the most dominant and well-rounded welterweight out there- and that Colby Covington can run, but he can’t hide. That’s a perfect matchup, two wrestle-heavy welterweight prospects that frustrate opponents (and many fans) with their go-to fighting styles.
Official result: Kamaru Usman def. Emil Meek via unanimous decision (30-27x3)
For complete Fight Night 124 results, including play-by-play, click here