The bright lights were on Jorge Masvidal — the self-crowned “King of Miami” — at UFC 287 tonight (Sat., April 8, 2023) inside Miami-Dade Arena in Miami, Fla., as he battled former training partner, Gilbert Burns, in the pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event.
It didn’t matter that Masvidal hasn’t won a fight in years — the South Florida fans showered him with love all fight week. And there’s nothing wrong with losing to Kamaru Usman or Colby Covington; however, “Gamebred,” 38, simply needed to get back in the win column if he was going to leverage his star power in any meaningful way moving forward. Burns, though, was not about to just lay down. On the contrary, “Durinho,” 36, is no spring chicken, either, and the fellow South Floridian wanted those “305” bragging rights in addition to getting back in the thick of the 170-pound title chase.
It was a great match up, and a solid fight, with Burns ultimately going home with the full bag via unanimous decision after 15 minutes of back-and-forth action with “Gamebred.”
Both fighters touched gloves, a sign of mutual respect, before they were off and punching — the crowd was, unsurprisingly, a total madhouse. There wasn’t much action early as both fighters were feeling out each other, looking for openings, with Masvidal scoring with a low kick. Burns waded in behind a left jab, then an overhand right that buzzed the “Gamebred” tower and forced a wry smile. Masvidal put together a nice combination midway through the round, with Burns looking to land a homerun shot. Burns uncorked a haymaker, which Masvidal ducked under, and continued to chase him with punches and just missing his marks, Nice right hand from Masvidal, then a flying knee that was blocked, with Burns firing back moments later with a huge right hand and hard low kick. Another big right hand from Burns, then a takedown at the bell as Masvidal boxed his ears frantically off his back until the bell blared.
Burns started the second stanza with a hard left jab then a big right hand moments later. While Masvidal was busy chirping and smiling, Burns got in close and dumped him on the canvas 30 seconds into the round. Masvidal was aggressive off his back, getting a warning from the referee to pick his shots more carefully. Burns tried to get work done from half-guard, but Masvidal did a great job of tying up his arms and pressing Burns’ forehead to his chest. The crowd started to boo and the referee started to warn Burns to get busy. Masvidal was able to scoot closer to the cage and use the fence to get back to his feet, with Burns still draped behind him, tossing him to the floor once more. Masvidal posted up on a knee and put Burns in a quick guillotine, but “Gamebred” released it quickly. With one minute remaining in the round, Masvidal finally got back to his feet and pushed Burns toward the center of the cage. Masvidal with a kick to the body that was caught and then let go. Masvidal landed two nice straight right hands in the final 10 seconds, but that round appeared to go to Burns for the control time.
Masvidal’s corner basically told him he needed a finish or a strong showing because the first round was up for grabs. Low kick from Masvidal, who could ill-afford to end up on his back early. Nice stiff left jab from Burns, then another, as Masvidal continued to whip the low kick. More kicks from Masvidal as Burns fired back with two solid left hands. Big jab, followed by a right hand, that wobbled Masvidal. He tried to laugh it off once again but it was pretty clear that Masvidal was hurt. Huge shovel hook from Burns, followed by more right hands, as Masvidal backed up to the cage in a defensive shell. He burst out with a nice straight right hand and a low kick, but another big right hand from Burns had Masvidal on skates. Burns tried to seal the deal with a takedown at the two-minute mark and after a brief struggle, he finally got it. Burns dropped some big elbows as Masvidal tried to buck and get out from underneath the Brazilian.
Masvidal appeared to retire from the sport after the decision was read.
Final result: Burns def. Masvidal via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28x2)
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 287 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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