Kamaru Usman is gunning for gold following a lopsided win over Rafael dos Anjos on Friday night.
In his second straight main event, Usman showcased a relentless pace and incredibly strong wrestling to batter dos Anjos over all five rounds to earn a unanimous decision in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ 28 main event.
It took Usman approximately 90 seconds before he found an opening to swoop inside to look for his first takedown as he planted dos Anjos on the mat and started to work. While it was the last place he wanted to end up, dos Anjos did a good job working his way back to the feet and resetting in the center of the cage.
Unfortunately for dos Anjos, he struggled to keep Usman from constantly pressing forward and looking to wrestle him back to the ground again. Usman didn’t land another takedown until the latter part of the round but his offensive output was clearly frustrating dos Anjos.
Usman’s relentless wrestling attack continued into the second round while constantly grinding dos Anjos into the mat and looking to wear out the former lightweight champion.
After getting locked under Usman for several minutes, dos Anjos was able to scramble free thanks to a kimura attempt that allowed him to get the reversal and work his way back to the feet. Dos Anjos ended the round in flurry of strikes including a well placed knee to the body before the horn sounded.
The brief comeback from dos Anjos was quickly snuffed out in the third round with Usman right back in his face, pressing him against the cage and constantly looking for the takedowns. It was a brutal pace being kept by the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner with Usman winning in the clinch and then landing power shots on the feet whenever he decided to trade punches with the Brazilian.
It was rinse, wash and repeat in the final 10 minutes of the fight with Usman keeping his relentless pace and dos Anjos failing to have any kind of answer to stop him. Usman was just too strong and too dominant as a wrestler for dos Anjos to do much of anything to counter his offensive onslaught.
When the fight came to an end, Usman looked like he was ready for another five rounds while dos Anjos was left bleeding and beaten in his second consecutive fight against one of the welterweight division’s best grapplers.
The judges ultimately scored the fight 50-43, 49-45, 48-47 all in favor of Usman. The one scorecard coming back 48-47 was odd considering how Usman performed, but either way he got the job done in the end.
With this latest win under his belt, Usman is tired of fighting contenders — he hopes the next person standing across from him will have the UFC welterweight title around their waist.
“I said I’m a man on a mission. I got into this sport and I made a statement. I’m coming for that welterweight strap and tonight I hope I took a step closer towards that,” Usman said.
“I’m tired of the talking. I ask for the fights, I get them, sometimes I don’t get them. Tonight, I hope I showed that not only can I go five rounds but I can dominate and I’m next in line for that welterweight strap.”
Given the landscape of the welterweight division with current champion Tyron Woodley expected to face Colby Covington in early 2019, it’s tough to imagine a scenario where Usman wouldn’t face the winner of that fight in his next contest.
As for dos Anjos, it’s back to the drawing board for him after suffering back-to-back losses against suffocating wrestlers. While he’s said repeatedly he won’t be cutting back down to lightweight again, dos Anjos has to find an answer to deal with the bigger, physically stronger grapplers or he’s going to end up in this same position again and again.