UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 Results and Analysis
Results and analysis from a stacked UFC 268 card that took place in Madison Square Garden, New York.
By Stone Lexington
Updated: Nov. 7, 2021 • 1:35 AM ET
Madison Square Garden - Wikimedia Commons
UFC 268 took place on Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, and there was no shortage of thrilling fights. Below are the results from the most notable bouts on what could be dubbed “Trevor Wittman night.”
Kamaru Usman defeats Colby Covington via unanimous decision
In what seemed to be the conclusion of one of the most heated rivalries in UFC history, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman retained the title with a unanimous decision victory over Colby Covington.
Covington attempted to take Usman down in the first round, but he was quickly thwarted in his attempt. Usman landed a takedown of his own moments later, but Covington quickly got to his feet before a mostly uneventful first round ended.
Usman knocked Covington down several times with snapping left hooks near the end of the second round, which may have been the difference in the fight. Covington lasted until the end of the round by holding on to Usman’s leg while on the ground.
Usman, the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world, seemed nearly flawless through two-and-a-half rounds, swatting away Covington kicks and stuffing every takedown attempt. But Covington found a bit of success near the end of the third round with a few landed punches and what seemed like it could be scored as a takedown (it wasn’t).
Covington landed a few big shots in Round 4, but Usman seemed to eat them with little effect. The fifth round seemed fairly even, and it wasn’t clear who the judges would favor in the fight, especially considering the scorecards from the first fight. But the champion had his hand raised once again, his 19th straight victory in the Octagon.
In what was a bit of a surprise, Usman and Covington exchanged pleasantries and hugged as soon as the final horn sounded. Also a bit surprising, Covington was gracious in defeat, but vowed to come back better than before.
It’s difficult to predict what could be next for Usman, he has already defeated the top-three ranked fighters in the division, but there is a monster lurking in the background named Khamzat Chimaev, who may not have enough bouts to get a title shot.
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Rose Namajunas defeats Weili Zhang via split decision
After the first fight ended in 78 seconds, the rematch between Weili Zhang and Rose Namajunas saw a completely different outcome on Saturday night. Instead of a quick knockout by Namajunas, the second fight went the distance in what was an extremely technical bout. After the final horn sounded, though, Namajunas was announced the winner by split decision and retained the women’s strawweight title.
Zhang was certainly game, but Namajunas showed all heart and guts throughout the fight to get her hand raised afterwards. Zhang landed a takedown in the first round, but Namajunas eventually rose to her feet, showing why she’s one of the most difficult fighters in the UFC to keep on the ground. Namajunas returned the favor with a takedown of her own in the second round, but Zhang lasted until the horn sounded the end of Round 2.
Zhang landed another takedown near the end of the third round, but Namajunas fought off a quick flurry of ground-and-pound punches until the horn sounded. There wasn’t much activity between takedowns aside Namajunas slipping in a few long right hands and Zhang chopping the champion’s legs with kicks. Zhang took Namajunas down for the fifth time in the fourth round, but Namajunas was able to reverse the position and wound up on top of Zhang, controlling roughly the final two minutes of the round. The fight seemed fairly even to that point heading to a fifth round that would determine the winner.
Roughly a minute into the fifth round, Namajunas beautifully shot at the perfect moment and took Zheng down again, applying beautiful control and sporadic punches from the top position. Namajunas never let Zheng off of her back again and did what she had to do to win the fight. A rematch with No. 2 ranked women’s strawweight Carla Esparza could be next for Namajunas, who lost to Esparza in the inaugural women’s strawweight title bout.
Justin Gaethje defeats Michael Chandler via unanimous decision
There were fireworks early and often, but No. 2 ranked lightweight Justin Gaethje came out on top via unanimous decision over a game Michael Chandler on Saturday night. It was one of the most entertaining fights a fight fan will ever see, as it seemed that both combatants emptied their gas tank. Both men swung for the fences throughout the first round, landing several devastating punches, but nether man fell. That all changed in the second round when Gaethje dropped the No. 5 ranked Chandler with a vicious uppercut that had Chandler clearly dazed. Gaethje, though, wasn’t able to capitalize on the knockdown, and the fight inexplicably reached a third round. There were even more highlights in the final round, especially when Chandler picked Gaethje up and slammed him on his back. However, Gaethje immediately reversed the takedown and both men scrambled back to their feet. To many prognosticators surprise, the fight reached the end of the third round. With the win, Gaethje should be in line to face the winner of the Dustin Poirier vs. Charles Oliveira lightweight title fight that will take place in December.
Other results from the main card
Marlon Vera defeats Frankie Edgar via third-round KO/TKO
Shane Burgos defeats Billy Quarantillo via unanimous decision