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UFC Fight Night 124 results from last night: Kamaru Usman vs Emil Meek fight recap

MMA: UFC Fight Night-St. Louis-Usman vs Meek Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight bruisers Kamaru Usman and Emil Meek threw down last night (Jan. 14, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 124 inside the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Usman is perhaps the scariest prospect at 170 pounds. A dominating wrestler with a great gas tank and knockout power, Usman earned a Top 10 spot but has found it quite difficult to find opponents. Meek, meanwhile. may not be as well-known as “The Nigerian Nightmare,” but he also showed little fear of the prospect and quickly offered to fight Usman. A talented up-and-comer in his own right, the Norwegian had a chance to leapfrog over much of the division if he could pull off the upset.

Meek came out firing, forcing a shot and easy dump from Usman. Meek countered with a deep guillotine choke, but he wasn’t able to gain the angle necessary to finish the choke. Instead, Usman eventually freed his neck and went to work from within the guard.

Meek did a nice job of working back to his feet, but Usman clung to the clinch and eventually returned him to the mat with authority. Meek continued to try and scramble valiantly, but he could do little underneath the powerful wrestler, who finished the round with some heavy ground strikes.

Usman did not do a ton of damage with his top control, but he was quite dominant.

Meek opened the second round with some good kicks and a counter spinning back fist, but Usman soon forced his way into the clinch. From there, his strength and wrestling advantages were just too much, as he forced his opponent to the mat repeatedly.

From his back, Meek attempted kimuras and threw numerous elbows, one of which did open a cut at the end of the first round. Ultimately, though, he could do little to create space or back Usman off, and “The Nigerian Nightmares” strikes from top position were definitely the more powerful blows.

The Norwegian needed a finish with five minutes remaining.

Once again, Meek did some nice work on the feet for about 60 seconds until Usman decided to change levels and slam him to the mat. For the umpteenth time, Meek scrambled back to his feet, only to be picked up into the air and brought back down with authority.

This time around, Usman did a better job of avoiding the full guard. He worked a lot from the turtle, controlling at least one wrist and smacking Meek with his free hand. Regardless of how much Meek scrambled or stood up, all of the grappling exchanges ended with Usman in top position in complete control.

Usman pretty much put on a wrestling showcase. Meek was insanely aggressive on the feet, and that made Usman a bit uncomfortable with his own punches, but it made it easy for the champion wrestler to score takedowns. Once in top position, his control was iron, as Meek was returned to the mat a half dozen times.

Usman’s strength and conditioning at 170 pounds are massively impressive. Meek is a huge Welterweight in great shape, yet Usman’s own physicality clearly out-matched his opponent. While this wasn’t the prettiest fight of Usman’s career, a lot of that can be attributed to Meek. The Norwegian athlete never gave up and constantly worked to defend. Even when he was pinned helplessly on the mat, “Valhalla” was spamming elbows and trying to make Usman’s life difficult.

It wasn’t enough to win, but it ensured that Usman didn’t have many chances to do huge damage with his top position.

Following this bout, Usman should receive a top opponent like he’s been requesting for so long. Ideally, a match up with Darren Till or Colby Covington would make sense. As for Meek, he actually performed better than I expected in this match up, but it’s still not clear where he stands at Welterweight. A match up with an established fighter — someone like Belal Muhammed — would benefit him.

Last night, Kamaru Usman wrestled his opponent for the majority of the 15 minutes. Who should Usman face next?

For complete UFC Fight Night 124: “Stephens vs. Choi” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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