Woodley, unbeaten in his last seven fights and looking for his fifth consecutive successful title defense, faces Usman, a former Ultimate Fighter winner who has won his first nine UFC fights, in the co-main event.
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Round 1: Marc Goddard on hand to oversee the evening’s first title fight. Usman immediately takes the center of the cage. Woodley flicks out a right hand. Usman shoots in for a single leg and Woodley counters with a guillotine attempt. It doesn’t look like Usman’s in danger and he just starts throwing punches to Woodley’s body while his head is controlled. Usman is out and he’s got a hold around Woodley’s body now. Woodley getting his legs under him and he methodically uses the cage against his back to stand up, Usman still leaning on him. They’re clinched up and trading knees to the body. And they separate. Usman goes in for a single off of a jab. Stuffed by Woodley. Nice overhand right by Usman and he clinches up. They’re throwing knees and short punches to the body inside. Goddard has seen enough and he calls for a reset. Right hand of the 1-2 lands for Woodley. Thudding left by Usman and they tie up again. Usman gets low for a takedown but can’t end round one on top.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Usman.
Round 2: Woodley having success countering as Usman comes in, but Usman insists on pushing forward and he again has Woodley against the fence. Usman attacking with knees to the thigh, shoulders to the face, and foot stomps. Big elbow by Usman on the separation. He gets a body lock and slams Woodley to the mat! Usman looking to get his legs free to mount. Woodley doing his best to tie Usman up but Usman is heavy on top and in complete control. He cracks Woodley with an elbow. Usman looks calm and composed, in no rush. Usman postures up and rains down ground-and-pound. Woodley tries to slip out, but Usman has his legs grapevined and is giving him no openings. Usman using a partial arm-triangle to just keep Woodley in place and tenderize his body with short punches.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8, Usman. Overall, 20-17 Usman.
Round 3: Usman dodges an overhand right. Leg kick by Woodley and he’s throwing his left hand more, but Usman gets inside again and grapples. He’s landing punches to Woodley’s body over and over again. Goddard with the reset. Usman is just walking down a hesitant Woodley, putting him against the fence right where he wants him. Not much action as they battle for underhooks. Usman keeps digging to the body. Goddard separates them again. Woodley avoids an Usman lunge and scores with a right. Usman tries to get in off of a left punch again and Woodley shrugs him off. That doesn’t stop Usman from pushing forward again and pinning Woodley to the cage.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Usman. Overall, 30-26 Usman.
Round 4: Usman pressuring, always pressuring. He shoots in and Woodley goes for a guillotine, immediately slipping off. That puts Usman on top again. Woodley is completely neutralized as Usman goes back to the body with punches. Woodley crosses his legs to keep Usman in guard. Usman breaks that and starts pushing forward with shoulder thrusts to Woodley’s chest and chin. There’s no change in position and Goddard decides to stand them up, telling Usman “It’s a fight.” Not sure what that was all about. Usman gets a Thai clinch and he driving knees up into Woodley’s body. He has Woodley against the fence and blasts him with an uppercut. Usman all over him and he’s landing everything. Woodley fires back with a knee right up the middle. Usman still all over him. He goes back to leaning on Woodley with about 20 seconds to go. They end the round kneeing each others bodies. Frantic final minute in that one.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Usman. Overall, 40-35 Usman.
Round 5: Single leg by Usman and Woodley answers by going for a guillotine again. Knees to the thigh by Usman. Woodley doing nothing but holding onto the head and Usman makes him pay with another slam. He’s sitting in half guard with Woodley just hanging onto that head. More punches to the body by Usman. He’s dropping shoulders from top position to wear Woodley down. Usman with short elbows now. Woodley with no answers. Usman drives a knee into Woodley’s body. He’s spent the entire round attached to Woodley’s body. And new.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8, Usman. Overall, 50-43 Usman.
Official result: Kamaru Usman def. Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45)