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Kamaru Usman looking for ‘spectacular performance’ against Demian Maia at UFC Chile

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Usman vs Alves Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Kamaru Usman will make his jump up the welterweight food chain later tonight (Sat., May 19, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 129 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, when he takes on two-time UFC title challenger Demian Maia.

While Usman was originally expected to fight Argentinian power puncher Santiago Ponzinibbio in the main event, “Nigerian Nightmare” now meets Maia on less than four weeks notice after Ponzinibbio injured his hand. That’s okay, though, because Usman has been eyeing the Brazilian veteran for quite some time.

“I’m very excited,” Usman told reporter Laura Sanko earlier this week (h/t MMAjunkie). “This is something that I asked for a couple years ago. It just came to fruition. I’m extremely excited that the UFC got it done. I feel like this is where I belong, with an opponent of this caliber.”

Even though Usman is an elite wrestler who utilizes his strong grappling game to power through more skilled strikers, he’s going to have his work cut out for him against a world-class submission specialist like Maia. Over the past 10 years the 40-year-old Brazilian has shown an insane ability to control guys on the ground, take little damage, and wilt them under the pressure of chokes, cranks, and full mounts.

Still, Usman is planning on going out tonight at UFC Chile and absolutely dominating Maia. He’s not necessarily looking for a specific finish, but rather a complete performance that stands out within the crowded 170-pound division.

“I’m going to go out tomorrow night and throw on a good performance, a spectacular performance wherever I want it to be,” Usman said. “So, I’m not trying to play jiu-jitsu or striking or this and that. It doesn’t matter. I control the fight wherever it takes place. So that’s what you’re going to see tomorrow night, is a spectacular performance.”

If Usman is able to get past Maia this evening he would push his UFC record to an impressive 8-0. That should set “Nigerian Nightmare” up for a No. 1 contender’s bout by the end of the year.

We shall see if Usman is ready to make that next jump up the ladder. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 129 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” undercard bout at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 2 “Prelims” undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.

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