Kamaru Usman Defeats Gilbert Burns To Retain Welterweight Belt

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Nigeria-born Texan Kamaru Usman defeated Gilbert Burns 34 seconds into the third round at UFC 258 to retain his welterweight title with his 13th consecutive UFC victory.

Usman (18-1) defended his title for the third time and broke Georges St. Pierre’s UFC record for consecutive welterweight victories with another clever performance that ended with a fierce display of power to stop Burns (19-4), his former teammate and sparring partner.

After Usman got dropped in the first round, he recovered impressively to control the second. He ended the fight with style in the third, putting Burns flat on his back with a perfectly placed right hand just 25 seconds into the round.

Kamaru Usman defeats Gilbert Burns in third round at UFC 258

Usman pounced and landed another strike that bounced Burns’ head off the canvas. He continued to pound the challenger on the ground until referee Herb Dean stepped in.

Usman jumped up and yelled to the mostly empty gym to “put some respect on my name!”

“I’m the varsity guy,” Usman said after the fight. “My fight IQ is different. It’s different when you’re in the gym with me, and when you get in [the cage], it’s a different ballgame.”

“I’m a whole ‘nother savage.”

Usman also tied Khabib Nurmagomedov’s record for the second-most consecutive wins to start a UFC career. Usman joined six fighters have racked up 13 straight UFC victories.

Usman and Burns were longtime teammates in South Florida before Usman moved his training camp to Colorado early last year, partly in anticipation of this showdown. MMA teammates typically don’t fight each other, but Usman and Burns had no problem setting aside their history to fight for a title.

“This was a tough one for me to deal with,” Usman said. “Gilbert is a guy that I’ve known from the start. I love him.”

Usman and Burns were scheduled to fight twice in the previous year, but both bouts were scrapped. Burns tested positive for COVID-19 last summer, and Usman pulled out of their scheduled fight in December because he needed more time to return from injury.

 

Chidi Nwoke.

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