Surging welterweight contender Kamaru Usman sought to finally defeat a top five-ranked foe when he met longtime vet Demian Maia in the main event of last night’s (Sat., May 19, 2018) UFC Fight Night 129 from the Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile.
It may not have been the emphatic performance he was looking for, but in the end, Usman scored by far his biggest victory in the UFC octagon, extending his winning streak in the promotion to eight and 12 overall.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” was nearly flawless, utilizing crisp punches to continuously nail a plodding Maia. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu master was only able to ground Usman once, and it was only briefly as the NCAA Division II wrestling champ staved off takedown after takedown attempt to gas Maia out. He dropped Maia with a big right at one point and followed with some ground and pound, but Maia was able to make it to the final bell nonetheless.
Usman was never in any danger as he refused to engage Maia in his glaring area of strength on the ground, and while some will say he should have possibly taken more chances to get the finish, he claimed to have broken both of his hands in the fight landing punches on Maia’s head. Either way, Usman has his biggest win under his belt and will rise slightly on the rankings as he heads for a truly big fight his next time out to the cage.
For now, watch the highlights of his hard-fought win over Maia here, even if they were few and far between: