Kamaru Usman (15-1) dominated across all five rounds to defeat Tyron Woodley (19-4-1) by decision to win the UFC welterweight champion at UFC 235 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Usman spent the first round tracking Woodley around the octagon. For each takedown he attempted, Woodley had an answer. Woodley threw a handful of punches, but didn’t land anything significant.
Woodley’s camp advised him to move forward in the second, but the champ spent the first portion of the round in retreat yet again. Usman backed Woodley against the cage before dropping him with a huge takedown, earning full mount midway through the round. He controlled Woodley through the entire frame, dropping elbows and punches throughout the final minutes of the second to earn a significant advantage.
In the third, Woodley finally woke up a bit, circling the challenger instead of moving directly backwards and challenging his forward movement with a handful of punches. Less than a minute into the round, though, and Usman was able to back Woodley into the cage yet again. After a brief ref break, Usman earned the advantage yet again, tearing away at Woodley’s midsection with short, quick blows.
Moving into the championship rounds, Woodley threw a few jabs before attempting to lock in a guillotine choke. Usman was easily able to slip out and controlled the champ on the ground. After being stood up by the ref, Woodley and Usman threw everything they had in an insane exchange, where somehow, neither fighter dropped to the ground.
In the fifth and final round, Usman backed Woodley to the cage yet again, where the champion attempted to lock in another guillotine choke. Usman simply scooped Woodley up and slammed him into the mat, controlling the round on the ground. By the time the round came to an end, it was obvious how it was going to end, and a few minutes later, Usman’s place in history was written.
Usman was unbeaten heading into Saturday night’s tilt with Woodley, winning each fight he was involved in since landing with the UFC in 2015. His lone loss came in his second professional bout, losing by rear-naked choke in the first round. Usman has signature decision victories over top contenders Demian Maia and Rafael Dos Anjos.
Since knocking out Robbie Lawler to win the title in the first round of their bout back in July 2016, Woodley hadn’t lost in four fights, earning a draw in his first title defense against Stephen Thompson, before taking two decision victories against Thompson and Maia. He submitted Darren Till in his last fight back in September 2018.
Woodley had been the focal point of jabs by interim welterweight champion Colby Covington, who was passed over by the UFC, in part, due to his inability to fight the champ at UFC 228. Covington would seem to be the next in line for a title unification bout.