Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas handed large checks at UFC 268 on Saturday night time, retaining their standing as champions in rematches in opposition to gifted rivals. Now, having defeated Colby Covington and Weili Zhang, respectively, each champions go away Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis understanding that extra stiff checks for his or her championships await.
The 2 title fights headlined an unbelievable card that noticed a run of seven consecutive knockout finishes, an all-time nice struggle and a legend developing brief in a spirited effort. It was the form of night time each UFC fan hopes for once they plop down their hard-earned cash for a pay-per-view.
There are many issues to remove from such an enormous present. Let’s check out 4 of the largest storylines popping out of UFC 268.
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Kamaru Usman will get the job executed — barely
It wasn’t all the time fairly for Usman in his welterweight title defense against Covington, however he did what the very best fighters on this planet do: he received. Usman gave the impression to be cruising to a brief night time when he scored two crushing knockdowns of Covington late within the second spherical. A mixture of Usman’s respect for Covington and Covington’s simple toughness led to a tricky remaining three rounds, with Covington profitable Spherical 3, 4 and 5 every on a minimum of one official scorecard.
That each one provides as much as a really shut name for Usman, who was not solely in search of to proceed his dominant run as welterweight champion, but in addition proceed making his case as the best welterweight in UFC historical past. Usman is not fairly the very best welterweight UFC has ever seen, that is an honor nonetheless very a lot held by Georges St-Pierre, however profitable robust fights are part of constructing a legacy.
It is also clear that Covington could be the hardest take a look at accessible for Usman. Having dispatched of Covington twice now, and with the lads hugging and expressing mutual respect after the struggle, there isn’t any steam left within the rivalry and Usman can transfer on to the subsequent rivalry. It is now on Usman to construct his resume whereas defending his standing as champion and the UFC’s high pound-for-pound fighter.
Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler delivered greatness
There have been loads of fights in UFC historical past given the “cannot miss” label solely to disappoint in by some means. That was not the case when Chandler and Gaethje went to conflict to kick off the UFC 268 primary card. The expectation was that the 2 heavy-hitting lightweights would throw bombs till one man fell in a struggle that will win Battle of the Night time. All of that occurred, besides neither man stayed down and as an alternative of Battle of the Night time, Gaethje and Chandler placed on arguably the Fight of the Year — and a struggle that may go down as among the best within the historical past of the Octagon.
Neither man has something to really feel dangerous about after this struggle. Chandler had Gaethje badly rocked within the first spherical, and Gaethje dropped Chandler with an ideal uppercut within the second. Nonetheless, one way or the other neither man backed down. Gaethje deserved the win and now could be in place to struggle the winner of light-weight champion Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier for the belt. However each males proved they’re among the many elite on this planet each in ability and coronary heart.
‘Thug’ Rose proved her second title win was not a fluke
One draw back of a title win that is available in lower than two minutes is that some followers and media will write your victory off as a fluke. When Namajunas landed a head kick and some follow-up punches to attain a fast TKO over Zhang in April, turning into a two-time girls’s strawweight champion within the course of, her victory was lumped by some into that “fortunate shot” class. On Saturday night time, the 2 girls rematched and victory wouldn’t come so shortly — or simply — for Namajunas the second time around.
Namajunas acquired off to a gradual begin within the rematch, with Zhang touchdown leg kicks and even using some wrestling to make issues a lot tougher on the champion. Namajunas made each needed adjustment all through the struggle, holding a distance that higher allowed her to make the most of her attain and realizing she may rating along with her personal takedowns to dominate the championship rounds along with her high sport. Whereas the outdated adage that “you are not a real champion till you’ve got defended your title” is nonsense, Namajunas erased any doubts as to her true place within the strawweight division by having to undergo the fireplace within the rematch with Zhang.
The solar is setting on Frankie Edgar’s profession
Edgar is in a tricky spot. The previous light-weight champion has dropped to featherweight and now bantamweight in pursuit of one other championship run. In each division, he has been undersized and was positively dwarfed by Marlon Vera on Saturday night time. The place Edgar’s chin and pace have been nice instruments by his profession, they simply aren’t slicing it anymore.
Edgar confirmed off his wrestling initially of the struggle with Vera, however the measurement and tempo wore on him because the struggle went on and Vera was ultimately in a position to land a number of damaging pictures earlier than a entrance kick to the face despatched Edgar to the mat and ran his bantamweight file to 1-3. Edgar is sweet sufficient that he can beat some males within the decrease finish of 135 kilos, however is that sufficient for one of many UFC’s all-time greats? There’s nothing for him at featherweight or light-weight and time is catching as much as him at 40 years outdated. It is unlucky that the top comes for everybody, even the greats. Edgar must be questioning how way more he has within the tank, particularly if a championship appears properly out of attain.
https://www.cbssports.com/mma/information/ufc-268-results-takeaways-justin-gaethje-michael-chandler-deliver-thrills-as-champions-pass-tests/ | UFC 268 outcomes, takeaways: Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler ship thrills as champions go checks