Justin Gaethje, Rose Namajunas and Kamaru Usman were all victorious in the main card of UFC 268.
By: Emmanuel Mendez
UFC 268 took place at Madison Square Garden and witnessed three great main card fights, including two title fights in the men and women division. The lightweight bout between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler is now regarded as an instant classic.
The first bout between Gaethje and Chandler was for three rounds, and in the first round, both fights hit each other with good punching combinations. The kicks of Chandler looked threatening for Gaethje, but Gaethje took the attacks well.
Chandler was looking for the kill early on and rushed Gaethje with those punches and flying kicks. Both wobbled around the second minute for the first round after connecting punches at each other.
The first round was insane because of the number of punches and kicks landed by both fighters. Chandler had power when he threw punches and kicks, but Gaethje landed more.
The second round was different as Gaethje kept catching Chandler with clean punches on the head of Chandler. Gaethje caught Chandler with a right uppercut which dropped Chandler.
Chandler’s toughness was displayed by continuing to fight while his face was already bleeding a lot. Gaethje got poked in the eye at the end of the second round.
Regardless, the round was a win for Gaethje.
The final round was just as intense as the first round as Gaethje kept throwing kicks on Chandler’s legs, and Chandler responded with a body slam. Chandler kept the pressure with kicks of his own, but he wasn’t defending well because Gaethje constantly landed left and right hooks.
After a fantastic bout, Justin Gaethje took the win by unanimous decision.
The title rematch between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili was up next. Last year, their first fight ended fast as Namajunas claimed the Strawweight title from Zhang with a leg kick to the head.
This fight was for five rounds, and the fight went the distance this time. Namajunas and Zhang were both very active in this fight. Zhang, from the start, wanted to go for the Knockout, but Rose would respond with those fast hands of hers.
Zhang started more strongly with taking rounds 1 and 3. Rose took the last two rounds, and many questioned who took round 2. The damage taken by Zhang shows that Rose took round 2.
Zhang and Rose were light on their feet, and both connected with some fast punches and kicks. Zhang was being careful not to get caught with those fast leg kicks from Rose.
The kicks of Zhang were powerful, which was favorable for points.
Zhang’s hooks were so vicious that they would bring Rose down, but Rose would also knock down Zhang with a couple of rights on her own. Zhang tried some submission moves, but Rose escaped and landed more punches in the last rounds.
Rose Namajunas wins by split decision and retains her Strawweight championship.
The main event was for the UFC welterweight championship between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. The first fight back in 2019 between these two fighters ended in a KO victory for the Nigerian champion.
Usman right away showed dominance because of his powerful strikes against Covington. Round 1 was an easy victory for the champ; he connected multiple times and knocked Covington down.
Round two could’ve been the end of the fight as Usman had Covington hurt and almost entirely out after striking Covington with those power punches. Usman didn’t have enough time to finish Covington, but the fight was 2-0 in favor of Usman.
Round 3 was a turning point as Colby would resound with some striking of his own, which would give Usman some trouble. Round 3 was close, and you could tell Covington was getting back into the fight.
Rounds 4 and 5 were favorable for Covington as he landed great punches that had Usman a slight wobble. The fight went from a comfortable battle for Usman to almost split decision scoring. Colby was able to go the distance with Usman this time, but it wasn’t enough.
Usman retains his welterweight title after winning by an unanimous decision. Usman deservedly won the fight, but Covington’s pressure in the last rounds may give the American a sour taste of defeat.