Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight up-and-comers Kamaru Usman and Sergio Moraes threw down last night (Sept. 16, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 116 inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Usman came into this bout with plenty of momentum behind him, a recently earned number next to his name, and call outs of champion Tyron Woodley in the news. This wasn’t exactly a step up in competition for the wrestler, but it was a chance for him to take another step toward his lofty goals.
Meanwhile, Moraes rode an extensive and surprising win streak of his own into this bout. He was a truly massive underdog, but the Brazilian had pulled off some wild come-from-behind wins in the past, so it wasn’t safe to fully count him out here.
Usman opened up with a lot of aggression, attacking his opponent’s lead leg and body before dropping him all within the opening minute. Moraes returned to his feet and tried to counter gamely, pretty much flinging out wild shots each time Usman threw a combination.
Some of them landed, but Usman was thoroughly undeterred. He kept pushing forward, kicking the calf, and hunting for his chin. About three minutes into the round, he found his right hand shot, planting a cross on Moraes’ chin and ending his night instantly.
It was an utterly violent performance.
To quote myself in the preview of this fight, Usman is a destroyer and will be a title challenger before long. The man is simply devastating; he absolutely bullies his opponents. Even though Usman had not previously finished a UFC fight via knockout, he had dropped multiple fighters. This time, his opponent didn’t get back up.
Usman was a bit more hittable on his feet in this bout than normal, but that’s largely a result of his approach and opponent. “The Nigerian Nightmare” did not feel threatened by his opponent and felt that his punches were inconsequential. There was a massive difference in impact between their punches, and Usman knew that going into the bout.
Because of that, he was able to stalk his opponent until the knockout materialized.
Next up for Usman should be a top five opponent. He called out Rafael dos Anjos in his post-fight interview, which would certainly make sense as a title eliminator. Usman is ready for the division’s elite, and it’s time he gets a chance to prove it.
Moraes showed his gameness in this loss, and he showed why he’s a difficult man to beat. Despite being a far lesser athlete than his foe, Moraes harried his opponent with counter shots the whole way. He never allowed Usman to dominate him without firing back, even if he ultimately couldn’t stand up to the Nigerian’s power punching.
Unfortunately, this is the end of Moraes’ unlikely win streak. He may not be in the top 15, but Moraes does still have a real role as gatekeeper to the upper half of the division.
Last night at UFC Fight Night 116, Kamaru Usman decimated his opponent in the first round. Who should Usman face next?
For complete UFC Fight Night 116 “Rockhold vs. Branch” results and play-by-play, click HERE!