Alexander Volkanovski celebrated the featherweight fight in Mixed Martial Arts on Saturday, December 14, 2019 after defeating Max Holloway the UFC 245 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo / John Locher)
LAS VEGAS – Kamaru Usman brutally stopped Colby Covington on Saturday night with a 50 second lead in the fifth round at UFC 245 and maintained his welterweight title with a spectacular end to his grudge game.
Alexander Volkanovski won the featherweight UFC title from Max Holloway and became the second Australian champion in the history of the doctorate with a tactical victory with a unanimous decision. Amanda Nunes defended her bantamweight title with a dragging win over Germaine De Randamie at the T-Mobile Arena.
Usman (16-1) ended an occasionally slow fight with Covington (15-2) in an exciting way, striking the challenger twice with precise punches, and then ending him on the ground.
Usman and Covington put a personal animus in the cage, and the Nigerian-born vow to derail the career of the divisive Covington, whose blatant personality and eager embrace from President Donald Trump polarized him sharply in mixed martial arts.
"This is not just for me," Usman said. "It is for the whole world."
Volkanovski (21-1) dealt with Holloway (21-5) for five rounds with kicks and movement and controlled the fight with style and endurance. The 31-year-old challenger, who was born in a small coastal town in New South Wales, becomes the only Australian UFC champion along with New Zealand-born middleweight Robert Whittaker.
The judges favored Volkanovski 48-47, 48-47 and 50-45. Holloway struggled to score consistent goals while dodging Volkanovski. However, the long-time champion was only surprised and disappointed by the judges' judgment after his second defeat since 2013.
"It means the world," said Volkanovski. "I have two children at home. It's all about my family. Spending time for me kills me, but that's for her, a little Christmas present for her. "
Volkanovski was the fourth featherweight world champion in UFC history with Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor and Holloway, who had ruled since 2016.
Volkanovski won his title with 17 consecutive wins, including seven since joining the UFC, with a win against Aldo in May.
"Featherweight has always had great, respectful champions who always compete against the next contender, and I appreciate that," said Volkanovski. "There are a lot of people who deserve their shot and don't get it, so I'll make sure everyone who deserves it gets it."
Holloway was one of the UFC's most popular and long-lived fighters in the 2010s, winning 13 fights in a row before moving up to Lightweight and losing a decision against Dustin Poirier for a subtitle last April. He returned with a featherweight against Frankie Edgar in July before agreeing to a shot for Volkanovski.
Covington and Usman started two busy rounds of strikes in which Covington apparently landed more punches while Covington caught Usman's eye during the third round. Usman responded by bleeding Covington in an impressive third round turmoil, and Covington then told his corner that he thought his jaw was broken.
Usman took control from there and gradually ended Covington on his first defense of the belt, which he had taken over from Tyron Woodley earlier this year. Covington (15-2) won an interim title last year, but then missed a full year of competition due to injury.
Nunes (19-4) secured the tenth victory in a row and the fifth title defense bantamweight for over half a decade of UFC dominance. However, the two-piece had to rely on her wrestling skills to dominate her 135-pound rematch against De Randamie (9-4), the former 145-pound UFC champion.
"My schedule was to do five rounds and do the takedown," said Nunes. “I received almost two submissions, but I made some mistakes and I have to correct that. Only a little bit of technology was gone, but I'll fix it and next time I'll get it. "
After Nunes was almost done in a one-sided first round, De Randamie surprised Nunes in the second round with several effective hits. Nunes wisely landed several takedowns to control the rest of the fight and kept De Randamie on the mat.
The judges favored Nunes 49-46, 49-45 and 49-44.
"Frankly, I was a little off tonight," said Nunes. "But I'm the champion. I always have plans A, B, C and more."
Nunes added the featherweight belt last December with her 51-second thrashing by Cris "Cyborg" Justino, consolidating her place among the greats of the sport. Nunes is only 31 years old and has announced that she will defend this 145-pound belt in her next fight. This would make her the first UFC fighter to defend two titles at the same time.
De Randamie was the first UFC featherweight world champion for women in 2017, but she switched to bantamweight after being freed from her belt. The Dutch kickboxer was stopped by Nunes in the first round of her first meeting in 2013, but this time she tested Nunes in more detail.
Previously, Aldo (28-6) had lost a separate decision in the show's pay-per-view area against his Brazilian compatriot Marlon Moraes (23-6-1).
Russian bantamweight Petr Yan stopped Urijah Faber in the third round with a headbutt. Yan (14: 1) struck and bled the 40-year-old veteran with two defeats in the second before ending Faber and then calling out the division team Henry Cejudo.
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