Kamaru Usman breaks Colby Covington's jaw in UFC 245 classic
"Hey, this one's not just for me. It's for the whole, entire world."
UFC 245 delivered three high class title fights and quite literally ended with a bang as Kamaru Usman successfully defended his welterweight belt for the first time. Usman broke the jaw of title challenger Colby Covington in the third round of their main event encounter but had to wait until the fifth before finally finishing his opponent off.
The main card started off with Petr Yan brutally defeating Urijah Faber while José Aldo lost his first bantamweight bout after losing a split decision to fellow Brazilian Marlon Moraes.
We then welcomed women's bantam- and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes to The Octagon to defend her 135lbs belt against Dutch kickboxing and Muay Thai specialist Germain de Randamie. Nunes lost out on many of the striking exchanges but she took de Randamie down at will and came close to having the fight stopped on a couple of occasions.
'The Lioness' was a convincing winner on the scorecards of all three judges and took time out in her post-fight interview with Joe Rogan to offer her condolences and support to UFC star Walt Harris, who's daughter died earlier this year.
Up next was men's featherweight champion Max Holloway, who himself had lost his cousin and close friend Vincent Kapoi Jr. in a gun attack earlier this month. Wearing a headband in honour of his cousin, Holloway strode to The Octagon to defend his 145lbs belt for the fourth time.
The @BlessedMMA Express on route to the #UFC245 Octagon! 🚂 pic.twitter.com/lTJK3I475s
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) December 15, 2019
He was up against Australia's Alexander Volkanovski and deemed a narrow favourite for the contest. Volkanovski gave up five inches to Holloway but he possesses immense knock-out power. He took away the Hawaiian's height and reach edge by attacking his lead leg with a series of wincing kicks and rarely left an exchange without landing at least one significant strike.
Holloway had his moments but he went into the final round knowing that he needed to press his opponent and impress himself upon the judges. Instead, round five played out in a similar manner as Volkanovski landed some crunching blows to the legs and head of Holloway. Two judges scored the bout 48-47 to Volkanovski while the third gave him the win at 50-45.
As Holloway graciously accepted his defeat, Volkanovski - just the fourth ever undisputed featherweight champion in the UFC - vowed to emulate the deeds of the divisions other great champions, name-checking Aldo and Holloway. There was no mention of former interim and undisputed featherweight champ Conor McGregor.
Onto the main event and this one was the grudge match of 2019. Usman and Covington were separated by a phalanx of Las Vegas security guards before their fight began and there were low blows, eye pokes and blows exchanged after the bell. Referee Marc Goddard had his hands full with the pair and he needed all his wits to keep the contest flowing.
This was a purely striking bout, with no takedowns attempted, and Covington was edging the first few rounds until Usman caught him flush with one punch that had Covington reeling. At the end of the round, Covington told his corner, "I think he broke my jaw."
Covington rebounded well in the fourth and may well have shaded the welterweight title bout had he made it to the end. Instead, Usman made one lusty connection with a punch that put Covington on his rear-end. He survived the resulting flurry but was clearly rocked and the end was near.
Usman put 'Chaos' down with a punch to the neck and unleashed a series of strikes that his opponent could not fend off, forcing Goddard to step in and awarded him the TKO win.
"Hey, this one's not just for me," Usman declared after his hand was raised in victory. "It's for the whole, entire world."
Post-fight, UFC officials stated that there had been no breakage to Covington's jaw but there were further medical checks and the promotion issued this update, 'Following an addendum medical report completed regarding Colby Covington, it has been determined that he has suffered a non-displaced midline mandible fracture'.