Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hallowed combat sports grounds of Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., tonight (Sat., Nov. 6, 2021) for the first time since 2019. And the promotion was not messing around, delivering a must-watch pay-per-view (PPV) event that featured two world title fights, including the bad blood championship rematch between Welterweight kingpin, Kamaru Usman, against hated rival and No. 1-ranked division contender, Colby Covington.
Usman and Covington first tangled at UFC 245 back in 2019, where “Nigerian Nightmare” defeated “Chaos” via late-round, jaw-breaking technical knockout (watch highlights). Covington was adamant that his jaw was fine, instead blaming his old coaches for his “worst night” ever inside the Octagon. Usman, meanwhile, was motivated to squash him once again, vanquishing Covington once and for all and continuing his quest to surpass Georges St-Pierre as the greatest Welterweight of all time.
In the end, it was a fantastic rematch, with Covington playing it safe early and getting dropped, then stepping on the gas pedal late and having several bright moments, but ultimately coming up short on the judges scorecards.
Live updates will began to flow below the moment the two fighters made their way to the Octagon ...
Covington, the confident and cocky challenger, was the first to make his Kurt Angle-inspired walk to the cage:
Then it was time for the dominant champion to saunter toward the Octagon:
Covington opened up with a lazy kick, with Usman circling and standing in the center of the cage waiting for him. Covington with a nice overhand left gets the action started, then he followed it up with a low kick. Covington shoots in for a single-leg, but Usman rolled backward, and in the scramble grabbed a weak guillotine from his knees, then both shot up to their feet, looking to go back at it standing. Usman feinting, changing levels and fighting behind his jab early. Usman connected with a nice overhand right, with Covington countering with a hard left hook. Usman timed a takedown perfectly, but Covington got hit in a sitting headlock then let go almost immediately so he could return to his feet. Usman tried to corner him, but Covington circled out and they returned to the center of the cage and traded some shots. Covington with a small cut under his eye after the exchange. Both fighters trade jabs as the round came to a close. Tough round to score.
Between rounds replay showed that the cut under Covington’s eye was caused by an accidental clash of heads. Usman opened up the round with a hard left hand that sent Covington sideways. He landed another, which generated a smile from Covington. Jumping shovel hook from Covington that grazed Usman, then he followed it up with two hard knees to the body. Covington missed with a lazy straight right hand and Usman made him pay with a digging hard shot to the body. Outside calf kick from Covington as Usman continues to walk him down. Covington playjng some possum, then explodes looking for a takedown along the cage. Usman defended well and was able to get off the fence and drill Covington with a teep down the middle. Nice straight left from Covington, then an uppercut, but he looks cautious, pulling his punches so he doesn’t get countered and killed. Then Usman did just that, dropping Covington late in the round with a hard left hook to the temple! He was hurt bad, but was able to cover up and get saved by the bell. Wow.
For whatever reason, Usman took his time to start the third round even though Covington was clearly still buzzed. Usman came in to test the waters and Covington bounced a hard left off his forehead. Covington now covering up, knowing that Usman has the power to turn his lights off if he touches him, He’s trying to chase Usman around the cage with soft punches, then transitioned to a lazy takedown attempt, which Usman used to box his sides until “Chaos” abandoned and returned to their feet. Usman scored with a nice body kick, with Covington just covering up and not really mounting much offense at all ... if any. One minute remaining in the round and Covington calling for Usman to come in and get some, with Usman instead opting to stay on the outside and continue to work the body. Covington opened up with some punches and got Usman off balance, then went for a late takedown that apparently wasn’t scored a takedown.
Covington seemingly now coming alive in the championship rounds, scoring witth some nice shots early. Harder, too. Usman responded with a hard kick, with Covington drilling him with a hard straight left in the mouth. Uppercut, left hand, right hook combination scores for Covington, his best moment of the fight so far. Midway through the round and the two get into a quick fire fight, with both landing solid shots but neither one getting hurt. Hard left hand from Covington lands, with Usman then plowing forward with a nice combination that did some damage. Covington now pouring it on along the fence, scoring with a nice flurry, then some body kicks that really seemed to have an impact. Covington mushed him up against the fence late and did some foot stomps, with the two trading shots at the bell and jawing back-and-forth.
Crowd really seems to be getting behind Covington after an impressive fourth round. Usman stung him with a jab early, then an uppercut, as he backed Covington up against the cage. He was countering real well, drilling Usman and getting him on wobbly legs, but the diving for a takedown inexplicably and letting him off the hook. They returned to their feet with three minutes to go, with Usman landing a head kick that Covington partially blocked. Covington’s face was suddenly a bloody mess. with Usman firing that jab. Covington uncorked a high kick that Usman avoided thanks to a slip. He put him up against the cage, perhaps looking for a late takedown to steal the round. Usman circled out with one minute on the clock, going back to his jab and stalking Covington late. With 30 seconds to go, the action was stopped after an inadvertent eye poke. Covington appeared to be milking it, but who knows. The action resumed and not much happened sans a blocked head kick from Usman. When the bell sounded, the two congratulated each other and shared a rare moment of mutual respect that had referee Dan Mirgliotta feeling a little uncomfortable.
Final result: Usman def. Covington via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) — WATCH FULL FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS HERE!
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